Director(s): Nancy Meyers
Writer(s): Nancy Meyers
Reviewed by: Christine Lambert on
Release Date(s)Dec 25, 2009 - Wide
Every once in a while a film will come out that flies in the face of a current Hollywood belief, in this case, that the leads and the most interesting characters in a film must be in their early twenties. It’s Complicated, starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, proves that talent will win over superficial flash any day.
It has been ten years since Jane (Streep) and Jake (Baldwin) have been divorced. They are both in attendance at their son Luke’s (Hunter Parrish) graduation with Jake’s much younger wife Agness (Lake Bell) in tow. Later, after running into each other in a hotel bar, Jane and Jake find themselves sleeping together. This fact distresses Jane, as she is now the other woman, but it does little to stress out Jake whom it can be assumed is not happy in his relationship with Agness.
Meanwhile, Jane wants to remodel her kitchen which provides the introduction of Adam (Martin) into the mix. Adam, dealing with a divorce of his own, heads the construction project of Jane’s and finds her quite fetching at the same time. There is a mutual attraction which would be great normally, but it becomes complicated for Jane as she now has to consider Jake.
The beauty of It’s Complicated is that it is so well written. Nancy Meyers is both the writer and director and uses intelligence in her comedy. This film touches the different emotions that one may feel in Jane’s position like guilt, confusion, and happiness. It illustrates quite nicely that younger is not necessarily better, as Jane is a far better person than Agness. This point makes for a good contrast for the way film and celebrity are thought of these days. Every so often, there will be an article or news story that will talk about aging in Hollywood. It will be reported that after a certain age, roles dry up. Maybe the numbers do start to narrow, I do not know the statistics off-hand. Articles like that give the perception that the reason behind the dearth of roles for older actors is that the public don’t want to see them. I happen to disagree. I believe that true talent, whether it be on screen, in the director’s chair or on the written page, will always win out over the superficial.
It is hard to write about Streep and not gush. She is, of course, sublime in her role as the confused and guilty Jane. There are moments in Baldwin’s performance that are very slimy, but then he becomes someone to feel bad for. Despite him cheating on Jane, you either feel sorry that he ends up with Agness, or if you have been wronged in your personal life, vindicated that he is with her. Martin plays Adam so sweetly that, in my opinion, it is a no-brainer who Jane should be with. That’s the point: for Jane it is a battle, a tug-of-war in her mind about who would be her best suitor. John Krasinksi plays the soon to be son-in-law and he brings his brilliant comedic timing to the film which will delight fans of The Office.
All in all, It’s Complicated is a delightful movie that raises the bar for romantic comedies with great performances and a well-written script.