December 24, 2009 by  

It’s Complicated


It’s Complicated

Jane (Meryl Streep) and Jake (Alec Baldwin) rekindle a romance in "It's Complicated."

Starring: Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin
Directed by: Nancy Meyers (“Something’s Gotta Give”)
Written by: Nancy Meyers (“Something’s Gotta Give”)

It may be hard to relate to any of the confounded characters in Nancy Meyers’ new grown-up romantic comedy “It’s Complicated” unless divorce is a favorite pastime of yours, but the director/writer behind such recent films as “Something’s Gotta Give” and “The Holiday” has sure got a flair for charming spectacles. It works perfectly with characters that ought to know better when it comes to the complexities of love.

With veterans Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin springing into action, there are plenty of hearty laughs that will resonate most with mature audiences who might describe Judd Apatow comedies as juvenile.

In the film, Streep plays Jane, a bakery owner whose 10-year-long divorce to Jake (Baldwin) has come full circle and entered a very awkward stage. As she says goodbye to her youngest child who is going off to college, Jane decides to secretly revisit her defunct relationship with her ex-husband even after he left her for a younger woman (Lake Bell).

Family life isn’t going too well for Jake. Jane is perfectly situated to be the cozy option to turn to when he needs an escape. Jane, however, isn’t playing the  dependant or revenge-seeking divorcee waiting by the phone for her lover’s call. Instead, she realizes the role she has taken when becoming “the other woman” and embraces it as an extracurricular activity she deserves to partake in.

But when Jane’s home contractor Adam (Martin) beings to drop hints that he is interested in her, her confusing relationship with her ex becomes more of a risk than a enjoyable throwback to old times especially when he starts falling in love with her all over again.

Much of “It’s Complicated” should not work as well as it does with all the broad strokes Meyers has given us in her witty script. For every classic rom com scenario that plays like a French bedroom farce there’s hints of cushiness that makes the film tightrope a fine line between episodic gags and what Meyers really wants.

At the end, however, these characters are so likeable; from Baldwin and his scene-stealing smile to Streep’s  unfettered happiness to even Martin’s slightly-underwritten third-wheel nice guy, Meyers has it all under control and doesn’t let it get, well, too complicated.  It’s like a buffet of comfort food. While you can overstuff yourself quite a bit, there always seems to be enough room for a few more guilt-free nibbles.

Grade: B

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