It’s Complicated (2009)
It’s Complicated (2009)

Genre: Romantic Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 58 min.

Release Date: December 25th, 2009 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Nancy Meyers Actors: Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, John Krasinski, Lake Bell

 


 

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he plot of “It’s Complicated” isn’t all that complex – the intricacy is in the carefully planned screenplay, involving a battle of wits, romantic patter, and Baldwin getting to deliver the funniest truths about infidelity. The real uniqueness comes from the cast. Comedies about older romances have been done before, but Streep, Baldwin, and Martin form an exceptionally pleasant onscreen trio. When it comes to R-rated comedies of 2009, this beats “The Hangover” in acting, directing, and writing – and that film is one of the highest-grossing of all time.

Jane (Meryl Streep) is divorced from Jake (Alec Baldwin) after nineteen years of marriage. So it’s particularly stressful for her to frequently see him at gatherings for their three young-adult children – chiefly when his new wife Agness (Lake Bell) parades around her much younger, fitter body. It’s even more inelegant as Jake cheated on Jane with the shapelier woman.

Jane, at first, wishes to compete with the youth on display, but later reconsiders when learning the distressing realities of plastic surgery. After having a decidedly disturbing conversation about vaginoplasty, she’s inspired to move things along with her new architect Adam (Steve Martin), who is slowly recovering from a divorce of his own. When Jake, aided by booze, jumpstarts Jane into having an affair with him, she realizes just how confusing romance can be, even at her age.

Meryl Streep seems to be in just about every other movie that opens each week, but her performances never get tiresome. Her role here doesn’t demonstrate a diversity as much as in “Julie and Julia” (coincidentally, she’s a French chef in both films), but in every scene she’s clearly comfortable and genuine with her character. It’s the mark of a seasoned professional, which works extraordinarily well with her two veteran acting costars. Baldwin takes the more lighthearted, sarcastic, persuasive, and ballsy spot (especially when it comes to awkward nudity), but Martin isn’t without his moments of upstaging comedic capers.

The romance is certainly more disorderly, but the love is not as sexy. “Ooh, I love when you smell like butter,” flirts Jake. While most of the laughs come from the fact that the cast is much more mature than in the average teen comedies, the most interesting aspect is the presence of two “Mr. Rights.” Jake and Adam are both deserving of happiness, so the resolutions are trickier – a trait most common in dramas that properly develop the lead characters. In “It’s Complicated,” the little things, such as the slow reveal of a monstrous slice of cake, Steve Martin hyperactively dancing, or John Krasinski (playing the fiancé of Jane’s daughter) partaking in some illegal drugs, also greatly adds to the engaging humor.

– Mike Massie

  • 7/10