"It's Complicated": Movie Review (2010)

1/09/2010 Posted by Admin

Movie Review

"It's Complicated"

Written and directed by Nancy Meyers, 119 minutes, rated R.

By Christopher Smith

The new Nancy Meyers movie, “It’s Complicated,” really should have been titled, “Well, It’s All Just Sort of Manufactured.” The film is pat, it’s predicatable, we’ve seen revisions of its story countless times before--but that doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable, which it is. And that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t see it, which you should.

Meyers based the movie on her own script, and what she features here aren’t lines you recall later or complications that linger but a terrific ensemble cast that steps in and works hard to do each. Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin star, and they go a long way in making this slight romantic comedy as good as it is. And that’s pretty good, especially since Streep and Baldwin, in particular, came to play.

As Jane and Jake Adler, respectively, they become unhinged as a divorced couple living in Southern California while trying to make the best of a sour situation for their grown children. Jane has been single since their divorce 10 years prior, when Jake had an affair. She now has a successful bakery, but she hasn’t had sex in so long, there’s talk among her girlfriends that a certain part of her female anatomy might fuse if she doesn’t take action--and fast.

Jake is now remarried to Agness (Lake Bell), a much younger woman far prettier than her name suggests. She already has one child from hell, and now she is determined that Jake will give her her second child. On a tidal wave of fertility pills, Agness is a hive of grumpiness, so hormonal, she’s force not to be crossed. Trouble is, when the three run into each other at an event, what Jake sees in Jane is a woman who has come into herself.

Just look at her, gleaming and blonde against the backdrop of the ocean. Just look at her, about to be alone now that the children have grown up and moved out. For Jake, the idea that Jane will be living by herself again is an inspiration. He’s successful--and randy. She’s successful--and to him, more beautiful than ever. What to do? On paper it’s supposed to be complicated--the couple has an affair while Jane tries to keep it from her children while also being courted by Adam (Martin), the architect who has designed an addition to her house.

It’s all stridently manufactured, but what isn’t is what Meyers (“Something's Gotta Give”) does best--she gives middle-aged sexuality a face, she allows it to fester and breathe, and she gives it a shot of meaning amid the disappointments and laughs.

She also understands that at this point of her characters’ lives, there aren’t many second, third or fourth chances at love. As such, there is something very much at stake should Jane agree to follow through with Jake’s advances and try to give their relationship another go. It’s the pressure she feels from this, the excitement, the potential heartbreak, the confusingly good sex and the fear hooked to all of it that, when played by someone with Streep’s talent, makes the movie satisfying and consistently watchable.

Grade: B

View the trailer for the movie "It's Complicated" below. What are your thoughts?

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  1. Anonymous said...

    OK, I still haven't seen the movie but want to. I've heard a bit about the movie from a friend, and read a bit as well.

    This review cements it for me - I'm waiting no more. I'll be finding a way to see it soon.

    I have always LOVED Meryl Streep!
    I'm so glad that she has some room to act here.

    YES, "middle-aged sexuality" EXIST (as the review says - how ever that's defined really1?) It can be GREAT, and should be shown on the screen as a "REALITY."

  2. slehan said...

    I had a free pass to see this on a Tuesday. On Friday I got another free pass and went to see it again. I will probably actually pay to see it at least once more in a theater before I buy the DVD when it comes out. It made me laugh out loud several times and smile a lot. I do not usually see a movie more than once so that should tell you that I *really* liked this movie. I will also mention that I am one year older than Meryl so I could relate to her character.