Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Review: It's Complicated

It's Complicated

It's Complicated isn't complicated, by any stretch of the imagination. It's a familiar romp through uninspired territory, elevated by the paragon of cinematic perfection that is Meryl Streep.
It's Complicated revolves around Jane (Meryl Streep), a mother of three who has just sent her last child off to college. Facing a very large empty nest, Jane stagnates in her new-found freedom. On a whim (and by whim, we here mean "lots and lots of alcohol"), she finds herself hooking up with her now married ex-husband Jake (Alec Baldwin). She begins to have an affair with her old husband, which is made more complicated by her smitten architect (Steven Martin), and the confused paternal feelings of her brood of Aryan spawn.
Writer/director Nancy Meyers isn't exactly renowned for reinventing the wheel. Her previous films include The Holiday, Something's Gotta Give, What Women Want and the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap. Not exactly groundbreaking material. Still, she's a great success for the demographic to which she pitches: older, boozy women fresh off of menopause that like to think that romantic shenaniganry still occurs with regularity while on the darker side of fifty. And kudos to them, I suppose. If Nancy Meyers is what makes the baby-boomers happy, then I'm glad they've found someone who's willing to cater to their needs.
Alas, I am not an older, boozy woman, and, as such, have trouble enjoying Nancy Meyers. I'm willing to accept the cliches inherent in the romantic comedy genre, and, indeed, the end of this film feels bracingly realistic. Still, there are moments of scriptwriting sloppiness and general embarrassment that I can't ignore. I don't feel like divulging too many details here, but I do have a direct message for Nancy Meyers: Do not, I repeat DO NOT make Meryl F-ing Streep talk about how much semen she likes in your stupid, stupid little movie. She is MERYL STREEP. She owns Hollywood. Which is to say that she owns you. She does not need to bother herself with forays into jokes about jizz. So please, for the love of God, if by some miracle she decides to do one of your films, CLASS IT UP A BIT. Try not to aim for the gutter.
Which brings us to Meryl. Awww, Meryl. No matter what she's in, she's always brilliant. Streep is the shining beacon of light that keeps It's Complicated from being American Pie for older women. Everything she touches she turns to gold.
Can Streep save the film completely? Not by a long shot. But she makes it watchable, which is awfully nice. It's Complicated is enjoyable enough, amusing at times, and mostly painless, with another memorable turn by Meryl Streep, but it evaporates the second you leave the theater.

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