The moment that Ryan Gosling shows up in Crazy, Stupid, Love, playing a ladykiller so practiced and confident that he presents himself as a pickup artist as a way of disarming any woman who thinks that she’s immune to pickup artists, we know just who he is — and also that we want to keep watching him do what he does, because he’s so damn good at it. Actually, what he does is a great many things at once. It’s being totally charming, caustically funny, and sexy as hell: Gosling, tall and sleepy-eyed, in three-piece suits and frosted hair, shows you how impeccably he has all of that down the moment he glances at some leggy designer princess and begins to make his move. In Crazy, Stupid, Love, he’s all nonchalant insinuation, all laidback erotic signals, all vibe.
But he’s also a quick, incisive talker who, playing a master of “the Game,” reveals just enough of himself that we want to see more of him. As the movie illustrates (it’s what he teaches Steve Carell, playing a jilted suburban schlub who needs to get in touch with his inner alpha male), a successful pickup artist today needs to be aggressively sincere about what a liar he is. Gosling makes the audience eager to see the person beneath the lie beneath the I may be a jerk but you know you want me! come-on. And that’s because Gosling knows exactly who this person is. He’s the rare actor who can play a pickup-bar stud and also turn his performance into a pinpoint study of just that sort of dude. In every movie he makes, Ryan Gosling treats acting deadly seriously, as a game that is also an art. And that’s why he’s great at it. READ FULL STORY »