As the title is superimposed word by word on the screen, Emily (Julianne Moore, “The Kids Are All Right”) tells her husband, Cal (Steve Carell, TV’s “The Office“), that she wants a divorce, and for no real reason. Blindsided by the blow, Cal is eased back into the dating game by a registered P-hound named Jacob (Ryan Gosling, “Drive“), himself about to be tamed by a young woman (Emma Stone, “The Help”) who’s not about to fall for his bar-to-bedroom shtick.
It’s stuffed a bit too much with story. Getting the short shrift are subplots involving Emily’s affair with a co-worker (Kevin Bacon, “Super“), Cal’s fling with a hot-to-trot single (Marisa Tomei, “The Lincoln Lawyer“), the teen babysitter (Analeigh Tipton, “The Green Hornet“) plotting to seduce Cal, Cal and Emily’s son (Jonah Bobo, “Choke”) plotting to win the heart of said babysitter, and so on.
All’s well, more or less, until these collide head-on into a scene of epic misunderstandings that so stretches credibility, it’s the stuff of sitcoms. I expected a bit more from writers/directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who’ve presented more of a serrated edge in past efforts, from “Bad Santa” to “I Love You Phillip Morris.” Their combined caustic nature is still at work, but in watered-down doses. The cast’s game performances make you not notice/care as much as you otherwise might. —Rod Lott