Movie Review: It’s Complicated

It’s Complicated is the name of the new film from Nancy Meyers, the woman behind movies like What Women Want and Something’s Gotta Give, but the movie might not be as complicated as its title suggests.  It is a very funny movie about a middle aged woman having an affair with her ex-husband.  See, not so complicated, right?

Jane and Jake (Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin) were married for 19 years but got a divorce ten years ago when Jake left Jane for a much younger woman.  The fire is rekindled when the two meet up at their son’s college graduation.  Jake makes the trip without his wife, which opens up the door for the former couple to have a few drinks together at the hotel.  Drinks lead to dancing, and the dancing leads to “after dancing.”  It is clear that there is something unsettled between the two but Jane is also being courted by her architect, played by Steve Martin. 

The affair seems fairly harmless at first, but it gets more complicated as they find out how their actions affect their kids, their respective significant others, and themselves.  What unfolds is a refreshing romantic comedy that is full of laughs and free of the traditional cliches that have riddled the genre.

The three stars are all very good in their roles, and it is great to see some relatively aging stars churn out a movie in a genre that is usually filled with flavor of the week performers.  Baldwin is particularly funny as the sleazy ex-husband continually talking his way back into Jane’s good graces, not only getting her to cooperate with him sexually but also getting her to cook his favorite meals that he hasn’t had since their divorce.  John Krasinski also shows up as the fiance of one of their daughters, delivering plenty of funny jokes and one-liners. 

Streep continues her hot streak of recent years, showing that she is a true chamelion.  Whether she is playing a nun, a fashion magazine editor, or a famous chef, she continues dive head first into whatever character she chooses to play.  She is very good here as well, lighting up the screen in every scene.  After all of these years, she hasn’t grown the least bit complacent in her standing as the greatest actress of all time.

The few scenes that didn’t really work for me included a couple conversations between Jane and her group of girlfriends gathering for advice and gossip.  These seemed to be thrown in for no apparent reason and worked much better in movies like Jerry Maguire and I Love You, Man.  I would have liked to have seen more of the interplay between Streep and her therapist.  I found that scene pretty fascinating and more worth while than all the “girl talk,” but maybe that’s just because I’m a guy.

All in all, it is a very funny movie that is a joy to watch throughout.  It is one of those movies that I am going to have to watch a second time because I probably missed a few jokes due to the audience laughing so loud at times.  It’s Complicated is one of the best comedies of the year.  Simple as that.

Rating:  8/10

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