Thursday, September 24, 2015

Movie Review: "It's Complicated" (2009)

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Movie"It's Complicated"
Director: Nancy Meyers
Year: 2009
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours

Divorcee Jane Adler's (Meryl Streep) life becomes very complicated when she begins an affair with her married ex-husband Jake (Alec Baldwin), who left her for a younger woman 10 years earlier. To make things even more complicated, just after beginning her affair, she is asked on a date by her architect Adam (Steve Martin) who she has taken a liking to. Not wanting to ruffle any feathers with anyone, she hides her affair from everyone else, even her 3 grown kids Luke (Hunter Parrish), Gabby (Zoe Kazan), and Lauren (Caitlin FitzGerald).

Can Meryl Streep really ever do wrong?

"It's Complicated" is a romantic comedy, just not the one you'd expect. Meryl Streep plays Jane, a chef who has finally gotten her life back on track after her ex-husband Jake, played by Alec Baldwin, cheated on her 10 years ago. Jane and Jake have a decent enough relationship now, and he has since remarried a woman much younger than him named Agness Adler, played by Lake Bell. Jane is in the process of remodeling her home with the help of a man named Adam, played by Steve Martin, a very patient, kind man who is going through a much fresher divorce himself. Jane and Adam take a liking to one another, though she often forgets they have meetings scheduled, which would give anyone a complex. Jane and Jake's son Luke, played by Hunter Parrish, is about to graduate from college in New York, which means a reconvening of the entire family in the Big Apple, and though she was supposed to come, Agnes wound up staying home because she was sick. Jane and Jake accidentally meet at the hotel's restaurant one night, and drinks led to dinner, which led to more drinks and dancing, which led to...well, you catch our drift. The spark gets reignited in their relationship, and though their affair starts as a one-time thing, as it often does, Jake wants to continue it when they return home, even though Jane finds herself getting closer and closer to Adam. What's a gal to do?

Meryl Streep is flawless, and though her character is less than saintly, she portrays both the "other woman" well in terms of guilt, happiness, and secrecy. On the flip side, we believe her as a woman in her 50's who is moving on from her divorce, though it took a long time to get to the good place she's in at the start of the film. Alec Baldwin as Jake is also convincing. He looks just smarmy enough to be someone who might get back together with his ex behind his current wife's back, but we as the audience can also sometimes feel the hurt when Jane rebuffs his advances. In his new relationship with Agness, a much younger woman, he has to try and balance getting older and wanting to help his wife have another baby, all while being step-father to her unruly devil child Pedro, the result of Agness cheating on Jake. Hey, the name of the movie doesn't lie, it is complicated! Jake is not happy in his current situation and wonders if he should have divorced Jane in the first place. Steve Martin is the perfect choice for Adam. He is sweet, humble, just angry enough, funny, sentimental, and an all-around good guy, the perfect choice for Jane, if only she could get her head out of her ass long enough to see it. The aforementioned Kazan, Parrish, and FitzGerald, Jane and Jake's 3 kids, do fine in their parts, albeit a little over the top with the drama, but most of the comic relief comes from John Krasinski, who plays Harley and inadvertently finds out about Jane and Jake's tryst and has to maintain his silence in many hilarious ways, including toking up with them in a bathroom.

Though the acting is all around quite good, the movie isn't perfect. It is so ridiculously predictable, it didn't even really need to get made. Each and every plot point has been seen before and it really offers nothing new, other than a ludicrous R-rating for recreational marijuana use, which are some of the funniest parts of the film. The jokes are the same as they are any romantic comedy with aging protagonists; jokes about growing older, about having sexual troubles, about dying and moving on in life are all typical fodder for this type of film, but its predictability doesn't really hurt the movie since it still manages to be a good time. The cast is charming, and with Streep at the helm as the family's matriarch, what's not to love? "It's Complicated" is a film at least I enjoy watching every now and then, even if it is expected.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 57%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "Piranha"

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