In the new 50-something romantic comedy, It’s Complicated, two-time Oscar-winner Meryl Streep stars as successful businesswoman and settled divorcee whose world is rocked when the embers of her first marriage are rekindled a decade later.
Jane Adler (Streep) is content. She has three grown children, a popular Panera-like eatery, a sprawling mission-style estate in Santa Barbara and an ex-husband (Alec Baldwin) with whom she’s still friendly, even if he did remarry a much younger woman.
When the two are in New York for their son’s college graduation, they bump into each other at the hotel bar. One thing leads to another and a few drinks later Jane is officially “the other woman.”
Back in California, Jane’s architect Adam (Steve Martin), makes it clear that his plans include more than just her kitchen addition. If that’s not complicated enough, her future son-in-law (The Office’s John Krasinski) unwittingly witnesses one of her farcical trysts at the hotel where he and Jane’s daughter are making their wedding plans. When the kids eventually find-out, they’re less shocked than they are hopeful for a reconciliation. Ahh, but there would be no film if things were that simple.
Count on Meryl Streep to bring any character to life, earlier this year Hollywood’s most acclaimed actress (15 nominations for Academy Awards, 25 for Golden Globes) cooked-up a delicious Julia Child. Streep and 30 Rock’s mannered and hysterically subtle Alex Baldwin make a great couple. Steve Martin, on the other hand, is so subdued that you wonder what this once wild and crazy guy is even doing here.
Gags run from slapstick (Baldwin falling backwards while peeping in a window) to geriatric (you’ll know more about Flomax and its side-effects than a urologist) but that wide swath doesn’t guarantee laughs and because less is always more, John Krasinski’s subtle gestures (taking the kitchen knife from perturbed Steep’s hands, for instance) are the most entertaining.
Relationships aren’t the only thing complicated here. Studio release schedules matter, too. Writer/Director Nancy Meyers parlayed her long pedigree (Father of the Bride, Baby Boom, Private Benjamin”) on this R-rated demographically-risky tale of fifty-something lovers against the Christmas kid-pleaser Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel and James Cameron’s billion dollar baby, Avatar. It didn’t fare well, which is not to say it’s a bad film, it just needs the right audience: an adventurous klatch too old for Sex and the City, but too young to retire the lingerie; content unbitter divorcees who like men, but don’t need them.
Yea, it’s complicated.
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