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NOT: It’s Complicated

Its-Complicated-Poster1I am a little confused with Meyers’ latest. It’s blessed with great acting from Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, but the overall feeling is fake and almost irritating.

I am a little confused with It’s Complicated, Nancy Meyers’ latest film. It’s blessed with great acting from Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, but the overall feeling is fake and almost irritating.

Meyers has been very successful writing about the suburban American family, specifically focusing on the middle-aged participants, each film presenting a different dimension of their lives from marrying off kids to dealing with divorce. Since Father of the Bride (1991), she has perfected her scripts, finally culminating with the wonderful Something’s Gotta Give (2003), which is her best film if you ask me. Following that trend and hinging on her own experiences, It’s Complicated deals with falling in love once again after divorce, maybe even with the ex-husband. Even though the theme is worthwhile to explore, the execution feels unreal with characters that seem to have popped out of a toothpaste commercial – disingenuous and constantly smiling.

After a nostalgic night on the eve of their son’s graduation, the divorced-for-a-decade Jane (Streep) and Jake (Baldwin) end up in the same bed. Jane is unsettled to be the “other woman” while Jake seems all too happy to be “back home.” Their affair uncovers unsettled questions in their relationship, which is complicated by another suitor for Jane, who is played by Steve Martin. The trio do their best with the material given, which results in a few good laughs, but unfortunately their acting can’t change the fate of the film.

For one, the children in the film are extremely annoying. They neither understand their mother’s sexual revival nor act like how children act in real life. They are the picture-perfect children with no issues of their own and a constant smile; they’re practically angels! Secondly, everything in the film is so pristine, from the houses to the interior decor, that something quite doesn’t feel right. Everything feels too Hollywood, which means the film can only happen in Meyers’ happy place. These shortcomings might seem minor, but considering that they make up the framework in which the three leads are placed, they detract from the film much more than you would think.

Overall, the acting from Streep and Baldwin is enjoyable and funny at times, but you can’t get watch It’s Complicated and not feel some contempt too. I may not have explained it too well, but it is hard to explain. I guess it is complicated.

Here’s Yalin’s previous review of The Men Who Stare At Goats (which is coming to Australia in March).

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Discussion

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  1. I thought this was a fantastic movie. Merry and Alec make a great, if flawed, team. In the end, it is complicated…a bit like life.

    Posted by Richard | May 17, 2010, 7:34 am

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