Sometimes you want to, but just cannot give a film a bad review. As much as it is the truth. If not for the acting talent and likeability of Meryl Streep and the charisma of Alec Baldwin then this would just be another run of the mill romantic comedy with the only sense of different is that it concerns middle aged people. It is another in a line of films made better simply due to the presence of Streep. The woman can do wonders with an underwritten script.
At their son’s (Hunter Parrish – 17 Again) college graduation his divorced parents, Jane (Meryle Streep – Julie and Julia, The Devil Wears Prada) and Jake (Alec Baldwin – from television’s 30 Rock), find themselves attracted to one another again and beginning an affair. This would not be so bad if Jake was not married to a younger woman, Agness (Lake Bell – No Strings Attached, What Happens in Vegas), who is trying to get pregnant. Jane now has to deal with being the “other” woman in Jake’s life and with a potential budding relationship with her architect, Adam (Steve Martin – The Jerk, Shopgirl), while keeping the affair a secret from her three children. It is complicated.
Director Nancy Meyers (The Holiday, What Women Want) is a romantic comedy veteran as she has pretty much made a career out of focusing on making films from this genre. Maybe when you basically keep repeating yourself you can’t help but fall into the trap of, well, repeating yourself. Maybe she is feeling it herself as the film definitely lags in the middle section. Thank God for a joint shared by Streep and Martin at a party because that succeeds in reawakening things a little. Then the ending arrives at its inevitable (or so it seems) and highly predictable conclusion. A little disappointing if you ask me, especially since there was an opportunity for something original.
Another problem I had was that ex-husband Jake is depicted as the cad and buffoon. Why is he the only bad guy here? He is, but is not Jane as well. She is having an affair with a married man. It really shouldn’t matter that it is her ex who fooled around on her with a younger woman that she is having an affair with. An affair is an affair and I feel that the woman is getting off easy in this case whereas the man is made out to be the only bad guy. It becomes a film loaded with total stereotypes rather than well thought out and fleshed out human characters.
On the plus side, it is refreshing to have a romantic film involving middle aged people. They are a population often overlooked in Hollywood’s infatuation with youth. It does pass the watchability test. I did enjoy it overall, but that was in large part due to Meryl Streep. The woman can seem to do no wrong even in weaker films. Basically, she could read the phone book and get positive reviews from most critics and film fans.
-The Making of It’s Complicated
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