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It’s Complicated Review


RATING:
(3 STARS)

Nancy Meyers is part of a rare breed, directors capable of making a good adult comedy. It’s a hard thing to do, crafting a film full of laughs that’s commercially viable while avoiding gross-out humor and raunchy Apatow-style sex jokes. She did it with “Something’s Gotta Give” (a bloated but enjoyable film), and she’s done it again with “It’s Complicated,” a delightful film starring the truly incomparable Meryl Streep.

Jane Adler (Streep) is a single mother of three who’s about to live on her own for the first time. Her ex-husband, Jake (Alec Baldwin), is approaching 60 and has married a much younger woman who wants to have his child. Jane and Jake are cordial with one another, but when they are thrust together for their son’s college graduation, long-dormant sparks fly, and they have sex. She becomes his mistress, a role she relishes, but things get even more complicated when she also starts to have feelings for her architect, Adam (Steve Martin).

“It’s Complicated” works best because it’s unpredictable. We know Jane will end up with somebody, but Meyers doesn’t show all of her cards until the very end. There are many signs that the film will go in the other direction, keeping you guessing the whole way. It was refreshing to have two very different, but equally matched rivals for Jane’s affections. With that said, the first third of the film is almost entirely devoted to just one of the men, making it seem a little predictable. Once Adam is introduced as more than just a minor distraction, however, it really gets good. This is the kind of film that builds momentum, and while the ending might seem a little anti-climactic, I thought it was appropriate.

It’s getting to the point where if Meryl Streep just appears in a movie, it’s guaranteed to be somewhat good. She’s fabulous as always and once again shows her incredbile diversity following up “Julie and Julia” with this (although I found it funny that Jane had worked as a chef in Paris). Jane feels like a real person. She’s fragile and doesn’t always make the best decisions. But she’s also sweet and tries to be thoughtful of both men’s feelings. Alec Baldwin is also quite funny as Jake, a man with such a big heart, he at times must share it with more than one woman. He’s a scoundrel, no doubt, but his feelings are real. Steve Martin keeps it low key here, a great decision which helps differentiate him quite a bit from Baldwin’s character. If Jane is fragile, Adam might already be starting to crack. But he is also a lot of fun (witness the film’s best scene with Jane, Jake, Adam, and Jane’s son-in-law Harley smoking pot at a party). Speaking of Harley, who’s played by “The Office’s” John Krasinski, he steals many of the scenes he’s in, a hard thing to do when playing against the likes of Streep, Baldwin, and Martin.

I’m doubt “It’s Complicated” will garner any Oscar attention (it has an outside at best shot at a screenplay nod), but it should collect quite a bit of money at the box office. It’s a real crowd-pleaser; the theater I saw it in was cracking up throughout the film. It’s also the kind of movie I think adults will flock to. Only on the rarest of occasions does a comedy come out that’s specifically targeting an older demographic. Not only that, but it’s actually good. So go see it!

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