Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's Complicated--suprisingly underwhelmed


Okay--I am a HUGE Nancy Meyers fan (the writer/director of It's Complicated). She wrote & produced both Father of the Bride movies w/Steve Martin & one of my all-time favorite writer movies--Something's Gotta Give. She also wrote, produced & directed The Holiday w/Cameron Diaz & Kate Winslet, another rainy day DVD fave.

So I was geared up to see It's Complicated starring Meryl Streep as a 50 something divorced mother of 3 who ends up having an "affair" with her re-married ex-husband played by Alec Baldwin.

You can count on three things in any Meyers movie: 1. the location will be gorgeous--in this case Santa Barbara, Montecito in particular judging by the Streep's character's lavish "estate." 2. everybody in the movie is wealthy & white 3. that there will be some bitingly funny scenes involving the awkwardness of aging.

In It's Complicated, #3 happens in the plastic surgeon's office and is undeniably hilarious, especially when Streep's character Jane runs screaming out of the plastic surgeon's office only to bump into her ex-husband Jake (Alex Baldwin) & his 30 something wife on the "Fertility Clinic" floor.

Alec Baldwin is wonderful as Jake, and I say that with considerable effort as Baldwin does not impress me in his personal life. But, on screen as Jake, he is adorable and endearing and charismatic.

Unfortunately, the sparks between Streep & Baldwin do not fly in It's Complicated. When I compare the love affair depicted in Julie & Julia between Streep playing Julia Child & Stanley Tucci playing Paul Child, Baldwin & Streep are like 7th graders having their first kiss. There's no there there.

John Krasinski from tv's The Office is funny as Jane's future son-in-law who is put in a pickle when he catches on to the escalating affair between Jane & Jake.

The best thing about this movie is Streep. She is sexy, funny, and doing her best with a somewhat limited script. Steve Martin plays her potential unmarried love interest and his comic abilities are mainly left untouched as his character is reeling from a bad divorce and does not exhibit many emotions other than a puppy dog like grin through most of the film. This is a crime to tie up Martin like this. He is not a good straight man. Alec Baldwin's Jake gets to have all the fun. Steve--you need script approval rights the next time out with Nancy.

The pieces were there for Meyers to make a really funny, interesting movie with It's Complicated and somehow, they just don't add up to much more than a light diversion.

Worth a matinee admission at the theater. Good date movie. Good chick flick.

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