January 7, 2010

It's Complicated

A tribute to the beauty of older women, and a surprisingly thoughtful meditation on marriage, wrapped up in a glossy romantic comedy. Meryl Streep is lovely and silly as a empty-nester who is seduced into an ill-advised love affair with her ex-husband, Alec Baldwin. Baldwin charms Streep... and every woman in the audience too, but his charm is almost predatory in its insistence.
Streep and Baldwin were married for 18 years, divorced, and have barely spoken for the past 10 years. Most divorced couples in movies do nothing but bicker and insult each other. The novelty of this movie's premise is that it skips that part of their lives and picks up the thread long after that chapter is over.
Here's how they looked when their characters got married in the early 1980s
 They reunite by chance, spontaneously share a drunken evening together, which leads to a drunken "hookup" (that's what the young folks are calling it these days.) Streep is seduced by Baldwin's charm and desire, but, as with many divorces, there is also the element of "unfinished business" between them. They fall back together easily --they were married in the first place for a reason-- but is this reunion an honest reappraisal of their relationship, or is it more complicated? I really appreciated the thoughtfulness with which the movie addresses the lingering feelings of a divorced couple.
I was expecting It's Complicated to be too long- 120 minutes is an epic length for a romantic comedy - but it's not as "too long" as it could have been. It's the shortest movie yet from writer/director Nancy Meyers:
Besides a slightly soggy third act, I am also fed up with the sheer wealth of families in Nancy Meyers movies- It's Complicated takes place in the exclusive domain of millionaires. Baldwin is a lawyer who drives a $100,000 Porsche 911. Streep owns her own bakery / restaurant (picture Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa as the inspiration), lives in a plush homestead on what appears to be a plantation. She immodestly complains about her modest kitchen (which is already bigger than some apartments I've lived in) and has grand plans to build a whole new wing on her house. Perhaps the intent is to create a aspirational fantasy world, but in today's wintry economic climate, this upper-upper-class world left me cold.
I had a great time watching this movie with my friend Adam...and nearly every woman we know! They all laughed at nearly everything Alec Baldwin said. What a charmer! Also, John Krasinski was very good as their daughter's fiance- hardly a "Jim" moment in the whole movie. (AMC Church St, Harvard Square Screen #1, with Amy, Adam, Mandy, Pickles, Karen, Penny, Julie, Mary Beth, and many more!)

Stub Hubby Reviews: Also Directed By Nancy Meyers