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It's Complicated

A movie directed by Nancy Meyers

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The Window Gets Wider

  • Jan 16, 2010
Rating:
+3
In "It's Complicated," director Nancy Meyers accomplishes what she did in her earlier film, "Something's Gotta Give"; she creates a great female character who is over fifty-five, succeeds financially in the world without a man and still has the potential and desire to not only have a fantasy romance, but to do so with gusto. Unlike other `Ms.' magazine-reading cronies of her generation, Meyers' Jane Adler (Meryl Streep) character is not afraid to admit that she is lonely and that she feels badly when she sees couples trysting in hotels together or her ex-husband (Alec Baldwin) married to a much younger hard-body executive (Lake Bell.) However, as an experienced woman that can hold her own, she's got a few tricks up her sleeve proving that as we age our windows don't get narrower, they get wider if we just allow them to open. "It's Complicated" may rely on some clichés, but it's a feel-good film that keeps the audience laughing with its well-timed jokes honed by masters like Streep, Baldwin and Steve Martin and showcased against the backdrop of wealth so casually presented it seems de rigueur for this age group.

As she does in "Something's Gotta Give," Meyers plays her comedy of manners 2010-style setting her heroine as the coveted jewel beside not one but two male protagonists. Stereotypes abound, but Meyers debunks them quickly with some nifty reverse psychology that definitely runs against the current current. Despite post-menopausal urgings from her chic girl posse, Streep's Jane is not in the market for a man, nor does she seem to be the diva collector a la those Sex and the City: The Complete Series (Collector's Giftset) gals who hunt either men or shoes. Like Keaton's Erica in Something's Gotta Give, Jane possesses a savvy wisdom. Streep makes what she does for a living look simple; both characters' clothing and homes provide the perfect backdrop to studied elegance and ease that Meyers obviously feels should be owned by women in this part of their lives.

Although the men in this piece are not to be overlooked by any means, they are served as vegetables to further enhance the flavor of Streep as the full-bodied main dish. Baldwin reeks with the smarmy superiority of the know-it-all male in the throes of his second family with all the traipsings of his overblown vanity--the escapist's black Porsche, buns of steel trophy wife sporting designer sunglasses, matching cell phone and curly-topped over-indulged 5-year old stepson. Meyers' enjoys giving her viewers a long and too lingering look at Baldwin's hirsute watermelon gut that allows women in the audience to indulge in a little "ha-ha" at the expense of men who suddenly are being looked at with the same microscope that have forced females of a certain age into the plastic surgeon's office. In another scene, Streep critiques the fuddy-duddy wardrobe of nerdy architect Adam, played with a stifled `please,-don't-reject-me discomfort by Steve Martin who should be a man about town with his great job and checking account. In Meyers' fairytales, her women have it going on from the start; the men figure out what their wise women are about and what they know as the story unfolds. From the start it is a man's world, but as the tables turn, Meyers' men realize their folly and cannot fail to admire what they should have been admiring from the get-go.

This particular story lasts for just under two hours. There are a few slow moments--but they are realistic ones where the character is allowed some time for a softly melodic introspection. Streep's film family may be a little too picture perfect--their outfits match the studied home décor, but I believe this to be deliberate--their charming insouciance adds poignancy to the sadness the Adler divorce has wrought. The jaw-dropping surprise on their cherubic faces punches up the gotcha line in the non-stop jokes to a contagious guffaw volume. Meyers does the over 50s rom-com proud--"It's Complicated" entertains with the veneer of affluence that underlines that beyond the so-called `good lives' of designer bakeries, houses in the hills or in the Hamptons, expensive cars and dream kitchens, we need validation for what we are and what we have chosen as we are nothing and enjoy nothing without having loving witnesses.

Perhaps Meyers sets this film up as a cautionary tale for all those younger women out there who think they know more than an experienced woman. Maybe she's just looking for a little payback depending on her own circumstances. Given this is a fiction, but nonetheless, I found Lake Bell's incredulous face while watching her older husband dance with his former same age wife enlightening. Sometimes it takes more than a hard body and an iPhone App mentality; whatever your age the message is you have to work to keep what you've got and not take it for granted.

Bottom line? "It's Complicated" delights its audience with what one has come to expect from a Nancy Meyers' directed film. With its strong 50s something woman lead, living in a stylized world where the character's good taste and high paying career lends a polished too perfect sanitized film-esque unreality to the reality, the film explores what would happen if suddenly a supposedly, `finished with each other' divorced couple fell in lust for each other. Non-stop laughing ensues as Meyers charms you with the talented Meryl Streep and her bungling boyfriends of a certain age proving that as we age, our windows don't narrow; they get wider and funnier. Highly recommended especially if you liked "Something's Gotta Give."
Diana Faillace Von Behren
"reneofc"

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More It's Complicated reviews
review by . May 20, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I have always thought my parents were a bit strange. Always fun, but definitely out there. But let's be honest, who hasn't thought that about their parents and/or family. Having grown up and moved out of the house I now find myself thinking back to when I was still living under the rules of the house and the traditions my family fell into. Truth is, no matter how frustrated I get with phone calls about computer issues or TV problems because the remote won't work, there are some very …
review by . January 19, 2010
Written and directed by Nancy Meyers   Staring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin   Universal Pictures   120 minutes      I don't see that many movies in the theater anymore, but when I saw the ads for It's Complicated, I knew I wanted to see it.  For once, I was not disappointed. This movie is a gem, a story that fits its medium beautifully.       One problem with being a writer is you tend to lose the ability …
review by . July 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin were married for 15 years and divorced for 10.  They had 3 kids together, the eldest is engaged.  Even though Baldwin is married he seems bored with his current wife,   She drags him to fertility clinics and public school meetings.  Streep has finally adjusted to the divorced life and has been running a successful French bakery.  Her friends chide her about having a man and she reluctantly admits to them that she has been celebite for years.   …
review by . April 28, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Nancy Meyers wrote and directed this film about a strange form of adultery - a form that she condones because the adulteress is the 60ish divorced mother of three and the 'victim' is the pretty young 2nd marriage gal that the husband of the 60ish woman left her for and so that must be some kind of justice....Make sense? Well it seems so to Meyers whose long string of 'feminist movies' (Father of the Bride I & II, Something's Gotta Give, The Holiday, What Women Want, The Parent Trap, etc) writes …
review by . March 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
There is something about real life that is more romantic than fantasy.     Its Complicated takes advantage of what much of what is most endearing and funny about people who have been through child raising, marriage and career building--their genuine surprise when they fall in love. Meryl Streep plays a divorced woman with grown children who really doesn't expect to fall in love again and finds that she suddenly has two men after her. If she were 35, this would be typical romantic …
review by . January 01, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Meryl Streep, John Krasinski, some cute laughs     Cons: Treats adultery lightly, uneven performances     The Bottom Line: Looking for a light-hearted comedy? If that, and Meryl Streep are enough for you, you might like this Middle-Aged Female Fantasy Film.     Somehow, my cousin and I managed to convince our husbands to see "It's Complicated" with us.  I know that Meryl Streep never disappoints me.  I was just hoping the …
About the reviewer
Diana Faillace Von Behren ()
Ranked #103
I like just about anything. My curiosity tends to be insatiable--I love the "finding out" and the "ah-ha" moments.      Usually I review a book or film with the … more
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Wiki

Jane is the mother of three grown kids, owns a thriving Santa Barbara bakery/restaurant and has - after a decade of divorce - an amicable relationship with her ex-husband, attorney Jake. But when Jane and Jake find themselves out of town for their son's college graduation, things start to get complicated. An innocent meal together turns into the unimaginable - an affair. With Jake remarried to the...


It's Complicated is a 2009 American romantic comedy film written and directed by Nancy Meyers, starring Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin.

Plot:
Jane is a self-reliant divorcée who owns a successful bakery in Santa Barbara, California. After 10 years of separation and three grown children, she finally achieves a good relationship with her ex-husband Jake, a successful attorney who has remarried the much-younger Agness. Jane and Jake meet when out of town and attending the college graduation of their son. A dinner together develops into an affair, making Jane "the other woman". Complicating matters is Adam, an architect hired to remodel Jane’s kitchen, who is himself healing from a divorce of his own, and who has begun to fall in love with Jane. He realizes he is now part of a very strange love triangle.

It's delightful to see Meryl Streep come into her own as a romantic comedian in her later career years--after all the accolades, the Oscars, the serious-as-marble dramatic roles. Streep is in fact a true cutup, as she has ...

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Details

Director: Nancy Meyers
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: December 25th, 2009
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: April 27, 2010
Runtime: 1 hr. 58 min.
Studio: Universal Pictures
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