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It's Complicated

It's Complicated

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

CONTRARY to what the title of this rom-com suggests, there’s nothing complicated about the plot of Nancy Meyers’ latest smug-fest.

Meryl Streep stars as Jane, a divorced mother who tackles an impending mid-life crisis by drunkenly sleeping with her ex-husband Jake (Alec Baldwin), despite the fact he’s since re-married Agness (Lake Bell).

At the same time, she embarks on a tentative new relationship with charming architect Adam (Steve Martin) and soon finds her emotions torn between the two men.

Admittedly, there’s plenty of scope for Meyers’ movie to succeed, especially in light of the quality of its cast.

Streep, Baldwin and Martin all deliver nice performances but only ever appear to be larking around, when a little more gravitas might have helped.

No one is particularly well-served by Meyers’ script, however, which goes through the motions for this kind of thing and even appears to make adultery seem like quite good fun.

The same smugness that accompanied the writer-director’s previous works, such as Something’s Gotta Give, What Women Want and, in particular, The Holiday also works to the film’s detriment, especially given Meyers’ apparent fascination for posh food and even posher kitchens.

It’s hard to sympathise too much with characters who spend their time in such glamourous locations, knocking back good food and wine like there’s no tomorrow.

Streep, too, also appears to be resting on her laurels and while her performance is as assured as ever, it also feels like a composite of Mamma Mia! and Julie & Julia with a little more playfulness thrown in.

Baldwin’s flawed ex-husband is, arguably, the most flesh and blood character and he clearly relishes the opportunity of a little more big screen spotlight time, but Martin is wasted in a token nice-guy role even though he works hard to make an impression.

Slapstick-style farcical moments involving middle aged nudity and sexual performance also feel laboured, while the script is generally not as amusing as Meyers’ would have us believe.

The movie deserves some credit for bringing at least one of the relationships to a conclusion that feels emotionally honest… but then promptly undermines that with a typically schmaltzy ending.

It’s Complicated is therefore a simple creation really. It’s the type of film you’re mum will like, and which will almost certainly appeal to fans of Meyers’ previous movies.

If, however, you’ve encountered and hated any of those past works, then steer well clear!

Certificate: 15
Running time: 120mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: May 10, 2010