Bakery/restaurateur Jane Adler (Meryl Streep) mother of three grown kids, after a decade of divorce, has an amicable relationship with her ex-husband, attorney Jake (Alec Baldwin). But when Jane and Jake find themselves out of town for their son's college graduation, things start to get complicated after a wine-fuelled meal which in turn becomes a laugh-filled evening of memories about their 19-year marriage...and then to an impulsive affair. With Jake remarried to the much younger Agness (Lake Bell), Jane is now the other woman. Caught in the middle of this renewed romance is also divorced Adam (Steve Martin), an architect hired to remodel Jane's kitchen, who starts to fall for Jane, but realizes he's become part of an unusual love triangle.
Review by Louise Keller:
Things look different lying down, Meryl Streep's Jane tells ex husband Jake (Alec Baldwin) after a dry martini with a twist and copious glasses of red wine find them in 'a smoking hot' situation. Divorce has never been so much fun in this smart and funny romantic comedy about getting back together (or not) long after the happily ever after scenario has dried up. Everything about Nancy Meyers' screenplay is shriekingly funny as roles are inverted and the happily divorced couple becomes entangled in more ways than one. It's smart and funny as it promises laughs and knowing groans in a comedy of errors with Streep and Baldwin in tip top form.
We are in for a string of surprises, which start in the very first scene, when we meet the divorced Jane and Jake at a party. Meyers knows how to create characters and here she has concocted a surprise cocktail in which our equilibriums are stirred and shaken. First and foremost is the complex, love-hate relationship between Jane and Jake and it is credit to Streep and Baldwin to make them both credible. Suddenly to her surprise, the assured, business-savvy Jane becomes 'the other woman', a role she has never envisaged for herself. But it's the set up that makes the scenario so delicious. There's good hearted hilarity between Jane and her girlfriends, as they joke about the eventual need to have a 'vaginaplasty' if life without sex becomes a reality. The kids too, have finally become acclimatised to having divorced parents. And then there is that scene in a New York hotel that changes everything.
Needless to say, Meyers throws in plenty of hurdles, including Steve Martin's newly divorced architect Adam who has got to know Jane through 47 emails in which she details her requirements for her home extension ('Two sinks in the bathroom make me feel bad'). And there's Jake's fertility-obsessed, tattooed second wife Agness (Lake Bell), whose 5 year old brat Pedro (Emjay Anthony) ensures Jake has no quiet or privacy. Plus there is a laugh a minute when John Krasinski's Harley (fiancé to Jane's oldest daughter) sees what is happening. Streep and Martin sharing a joint is a moment to savour, while Baldwin bares his all - for more than his expected audience. Complicated it is - and lots of fun to boot.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Part wishful thinking and part grown up romantic comedy, Nancy Meyers' It's Complicated is never as complicated as it tries to make out - but for the most part it's sufficiently entertaining for adults wanting what teenage romance can't usually deliver: depth and texture. Divorced for a decade, Jane (Meryl Streep) and Jake (Alec Baldwin) are thrown together as their son's graduation and drink themselves a dinner ... and the dessert is served in bed. The complication is that Jake has remarried, and his younger wife, Agness (Lake Bell) is determined to have a baby with Jake, even though she has a hideous five year old moppet from another man.
There are delicious moments of dark humour about the state of being divorced, sex and the divorced woman, and of course, the etiquette of an ex wife being a mistress to her ex husband, which is Meyers' central plot device. Streep is wonderfully complicated as Jane, sliding from one side of femininity to another, while Alec Baldwin delivers a clear and endearing portrait of a sinner husband who was a sinner husband the first time around. Steve Martin relishes his straight role as Adam the architect falling for Jane and the casting against type works to enrich the character at key moments - like the scene where Adam and Jane attend the graduation party stoned.
Excellent support from the three grown up children and Jane's friends, as well as a sulking turn in a thankless role as Jake's coldly self centred wife from Lake Bell.
Meyers' script has lashings of humour and sharp observation, and she directs with a sure touch, and although I find the resolution a tad less than 100% satisfying, the film delivers what it promises. Attention to detail and the unobtrusive score help create the illusion required to go with the flow. An entertaining escape, with a valid story and characters that resonate, thankfully unblemished by the airbrush that has been used to excess in the key artwork for the film's poster. Ironic really, considering a scene in which Meryl Streep's Jane denigrates the craze for plastic surgery.
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IT'S COMPLICATED (M)
CAST: Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, John Krasinski, Steve Martin, Rita Wilson, Hunter Parrish, Darryl Sabara, Lake Bell, Zoe Kazan
PRODUCER: Nancy Meyers, Scott Rudin
DIRECTOR: Nancy Meyers
SCRIPT: Nancy Meyers
CINEMATOGRAPHER: John Toll
EDITOR: Joe Hutshing, David Moritz
MUSIC: Hans Zimmer, Heitor Pereira
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jon Huntman
RUNNING TIME: 121 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 7, 2010