Friday, January 01, 2010

It's Complicated (***1/2)

It's Complicated. 114 mins. R. Written and Directed by Nancy Meyers. Starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, and John Krasinski.

After gouging on all those holiday sweets and stuffing myself with multiple trips to Hollywood behemoths Sherlock Holmes and Avatar, it was awfully nice to just sit down and bask in the company of the three brilliantly funny actors starring in It's Complicated. This is Nancy Meyers' fifth film as writer-director and if you liked Something's Gotta Give (I did), you're definitely going to dig It's Complicated. Meryl Streep continues her hot streak as Jane, a divorced mother of three who strikes up an affair with her remarried ex-husband while at their son's graduation. Her ex is played by Alec Baldwin, in a vanity-free performance that rivals his week-to-week brilliance on 30 Rock. The two of them have great chemistry together. To add icing on the cake, Steve Martin pops up as Jane's architect and potential new suitor. It's a smaller role, but the casting of Martin proves a great idea. For once, and this is a big thing for a romantic comedy, I had no idea who Jane would end up with in the end. Both Martin and Baldwin are immensely likeable, and viewer loyalty to each character is easily twisted. Like Meyers' other films, It's Complicated is not perfect. Her obsession with awesome homes and perfect kitchens/gardens is veering dangerously close to middle-age lifestyle porn, and is on the verge of parodying itself a la the pigeons in a John Woo movie. The comedy runs a little broad at times (particularly with John Krasinski's nervous son-in-law character), and I often felt guilty laughing, but darn it if Baldwin sitting naked in front of a video chat screen with Martin on the other end isn't funny. It's Complicated is ultimately a refreshing tale of love and sex between fiftysomethings that audiences of any age can relate to and enjoy.

- John


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