More Messy Than Complicated
I enjoyed both "The Holiday" and "Something's Gotta Give" and I was hoping that I would equally enjoy "It's Complicated" another romantic comedy from director Nancy Meyers. And to be honest I did enjoy it, eventually, as "It's Complicated" took a bit of time to win me over and then when it did it was like a bit of a rollercoaster ride giving me pleasure and pain as it went from fun to dull. But overall "It's Complicated" works, it will amuse those who want to watch a romantic comedy focused on middle aged people and their complicated romance lives and with Meryl Streep, Alex Baldwin and Steve Martin it has plenty of fun going on.
It's been 10 years since Jane (Meryl Streep - Julie & Julia) and Jake (Alex Baldwin - My Sister's Keeper) got divorced and whilst Jake is remarried to a younger woman he still has feelings for his ex wife. Whilst attending their son's graduation Jane and Jake end up sleeping together and it reignites something between them although they try and keep it secret. At the same time Jane finds herself having feelings towards Adam (Steve Martin - Baby Mama) the architect who is redesigning her house which inevitably leads to complications.
To be honest the storyline is essentially quite simple as we follow Jane who's love life has become stilted until her ex husband starts to make a move on her as does her architect. It is a love triangle which gets messy as Jane enjoys the sex she has with her ex husband but has something deeper with her architect and inevitably it gets complicated as the love triangle basically crashes. As such once we get the set up out the way and realise that Jake still has a thing for Jane and that architect Adam is a thoroughly nice guy it is easy to second guess not only the ending but much of what will happen. It does have its moments especially as it broaches the subject of how Jane and Jake's children will feel about their parents "getting it on" but it is very straight forwards.
Being straight forwards isn't really a criticism as it allows Meyers to explore ideas, such as vanity whilst growing old, the attempt to recapture the past and so on. And to be honest Meyers does a nice job delivering a sweet and charming story without over doing the sentimentality of it all. But at the same time Meyers does things which I just don't get such as the whole series of scenes about Jane and Adam getting high on Pot seems so out of place and quite flippant. Yes people smoke Pot in real life but it seems wrong that it goes by with out any condoning of the act. And whilst some may find it amusing the scenes where Jane sits around with her girlfriends discussing sex is just cringe worthy and alienated me totally, which is partly why it took me so long to get into the movie.
It also has to be said that I want to live in Nancy Meyers' world where a divorced mother of 3 grown up children owns what is a nice coffee shop and lives in a sprawling home. Maybe this whole set up is feasible but it just borders on a fairytale setting, a beautiful expansive home which Jane plans to make bigger and a coffee shop which looks immaculate. But when you either accept that this is fairytale like or that Jane is some secret millionaire it provides for a nice setting.
But the thing is that whilst I have issues with various elements of "It's Complicated" the casting of Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin is perfect. Streep makes Jane such an enjoyable character and we warm to her as she goes from a sense of loneliness when her final child leaves home to being almost teenage like as she enjoys the randy affections of her ex Jake. And talking of Jake you have to applaud Alec Baldwin for embracing middle age spread in playing the character. But what is so good is that whilst on one hand Jake is a love rat who cheats on women you also see that deep down, behind the horniness he is longing to rekindle the romance and love he once had. And to finish this off you have a restrained Steve Martin playing Adam the architect, an ordinary character but one which Martin plays so well that we like him but not to the point that are affection for him causes us to hate Jake.
Whilst the trio of Streep, Baldwin and Martin are the biggest reason why "It's Complicated" ends up entertaining John Krasinski as future son in law Harley steals many a scene. The over the top comedy as he finds himself discovering Jane and Jake's sexual liaisons is priceless and is one of the movies best scenes.
What this all boils down to is that "It's Complicated" is an entertaining movie but not as entertaining as I hoped. It took some time to win me over and whilst the performances of Streep, Baldwin and Martin were a joy there were elements which ended up feeling wrong and at worse alienating me.