Here it is another romantic comedy from Nancy Meyer, whose previous outings “Something’s Gotta Give” and “The Holiday” have helped cement Meyer as the “go-to girl” of the multi-layered romantic comedy that even guys could enjoy. As the writer/director of these three films, Meyer has been able to really build the cinematic experience to fit her own formulaic style. “It’s complicated” moves back to the topic material of “Something’s Gotta Give”, with the exploration of older people lovin’.
Meryl Streep stars as Jane, divorced mother of three grown up children, who has spent the past decade of her newly single life focusing on building her career. Pouring her heart and soul into her catering/bakery business, while her lawyer ex-husband Jake (Baldwin) cheats, leaves and then marries a much younger woman.
As she reaches the stage where the children have all left home and she is finally ready to get back out into the world of dating, she finds that her ex is in the mood to re-visit their long lost love. This of course provides a wealth of uncomfortable moments as Jane has to balance the affection of her new suitor Adam (Martin) with the infection of attention from Jake.
Now as I sat with my wife in this heavily female weighted screening I found that there were actually lots of things that I could laugh at. (At times it was easier to laugh at the occasional laughing snorts from certain members of the audience.) The dialogue was witty. Well as witty as American cinema can be. We solid performances from the core cast the “Rather long for a comedy” two hours running time flew by with lots of unscheduled stops for laughs. Baldwin was brilliantly unlovable, while on the other end of the scale Martin was endearingly lovable. This should stand them in good stead, as they join forces to co-host the 2010 Oscars together. As usual Meryl Streep is outstanding as the older woman who seems so together and yet so completely unsure of herself as those around have no idea what is really going on. Although thanks to Mamma Mia, there were several moments when Streep’s character Jane is alone and pondering her fate and it seems so inevitable that she will break into song at any moment.
One highlight for me is the addition of John Krasinki in the supporting cast as Jane’s possible future son-in-law, who is constantly the only one to stumble onto what is going on between Jane, Jake and Adam. Krasinski’s brilliant comedic timing and delivery comes through in complete discomfort as he gets caught in the middle of the deception and desperately not wanting to upset his girlfriend or future in-laws.
On a slightly disconcerting note, Despite the great jokes and pace of the film, I felt quite unsettled and disappointed when at one point within the film, Jane’s Therapist tells her to go ahead and be involved in an extra-marital affair as it would be “good for her”. In my mind this wasn’t needed and is somewhat discouraging in a world where unfortunately it is fast becoming okay and acceptable to cheat on one’s partner.
Reviewed by: Jon E Clist
Releases: 21st January 2010
Rating: M drug use
Running time: 120 minutes
Starring: Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin and John Krasinski
Director: Nancy Meyers