It's Complicated


Directed by: Nancy Meyers
Written by:Nancy Meyers
Starring: Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, John Krasinski, Lake Bell, Mary Kay Place, Rita Wilson, Hunter Parrish
Released: January 7, 2010
Grade: C+

It’s hard to believe that in a comedy starring Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, it’s the underrated John Krasinski (Away We Go, The Office) who gets the most laughs.  Without his comical facial expressions and amusing one-liners, this movie would have been a complete write-off.

And that surprises me.  I’m not a fan of romantic comedies (which I say in every single review I write for a romantic comedy) but I usual like Nancy Meyers films.  Her best work was Something’s Gotta Give in 2003 (with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton) but other credits include The Holiday and What Women Want.  She also wrote the screenplay for the much loved Father Of The Bride.

I didn’t like It’s Complicated because it felt phoney.  Every character is overdramatised and every emotion is overdone.  There are underlying messages here about relationships and family but I couldn’t take any of it seriously.

Our protagonist is Jane (Streep), a divorced woman in her 50s (I think) who is best described as a “people person”.  You’ll often find her serving beautiful pastries at her bakery and making small-talk with her customers.  She’s the same away from work too.  Jane loves catching up with her lady friends and they’ll gossip about almost anything.

Things aren’t all rosy however.  Jane hasn’t had a meaningful relationship in years.  Her children have all grown up and moved out.  She lives in a beautiful house but it’s lonely at night.  She yearns for companionship, someone to share her life with.

Along comes… the ex-husband.  Jake (Baldwin) in now married to a much younger woman but after seeing Jane at a get-together, old feelings come flooding back.  Jane resists at first but Jake’s charms are too strong.  The two start having an “affair”.

There’s a second guy in the mix – a friendly architect named Adam (Martin).  He too is coming off a bad divorce and meets Jane when he puts together a redesign for her kitchen.  Adam is the ultimate “nice guy” and the two have much in common.  They share conversations on life and on love.  When Adam asks Jane out on a date, you quickly learn how the film got its name.

There are some strange scenes.  Most puzzling was the “full on” relationship shared by Jane’s three children.  It’s as if they do everything together!  They’re sweet kids but there’s something not quite right about a group of 20-somethings lying in a bed and getting all teary after learning of their parents’ misdeeds.  Maybe I come from a different family upbringing and can’t relate.  Then again, maybe this film is just no good.