It's Complicated Movie Review

There's something enjoyable about silly romantic comedies that centre on middle-aged people for a change, especially when the characters are as well-cast as these. And even if the film is both over-long and rather pointless.

Jane (Streep) has been divorced from Jake (Baldwin) for 10 years and is starting to relax around him again, despite some bitterness toward his new, younger wife (Bell). So when Jane and Jake start having an affair, it's almost like revenge. But it also jeopardises Jane's tentative courtship with her shy architect Adam (Martin). And Jane knows there'd be even bigger problems if her three adult kids (Fitzgerald, Kazan and Parrish) found out what she was up to.

As usual, Meyers takes a smiley, cheesy approach, filling scenes with knowing glances, small moments of slapstick and goofy double entendres. Thankfully, it's Streep and Baldwin who are playing most of these scenes, and both are so good at combining comedy with an undercurrent of emotional and black irony that we never get tired of watching them, even as the plot rambles around in rather predictably farcical circles.

Along the way, Streep makes Jane a believable character, thanks in part to Meyers' astute dialog and unfussy direction but also to Streep's willingness to play a realistically late-50s woman who is still living a full life. Seeing her luminous, expressive face lined and wrinkled, we wonder if there's another actress in Hollywood who could still play this role. Even braver is Baldwin's willingness to unapologetically show that hairy flabbiness is both honest and sexy. By comparison, the contained performance from Martin feels almost quaint and sweet.

Like her other films, Meyers sets this story in an impossibly upscale fantasy world in which everyone lives in dreamy designer splendour and has a job that looks both effortless and fun. Here we're in the gorgeously posh California coastal town of Santa Barbara, where Jane runs a fabulous bakery (echoes of Julie & Julia abound) and is adding a new wing onto her sprawling ranch house even though all of her kids have moved out. In other words, this is nowhere near the real world. But you may be able to see some of it from here.


Comments

It's Complicated Rating

" OK "

Rating: 12, 2009

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