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It’s Complicated

August 30, 2010

It’s Complicated (2009)
Director: Nancy Meyers
Actors: Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin

Synopsis: Divorcees Jane and Jake Adler (Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin) threaten to get back together, while Jane also has amorous attentions from her architect (Steve Martin).

Review: There aren’t enough of these movies around any more: old-school screwball comedies reliant on a couple of star turns and a simple little plot hook. It certainly compares favourably to contemporary rom-com confections that have been conceptualised to death by the Hollywood script doctors. Director Nancy Meyers is content to rely on the new-found comedy chops of Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin (fresh from 30 Rock success), and to that end she isn’t disappointed. Clearly, some of the comic elements of the film work better than others (Streep and Baldwin’s drunken courtship – funny, Streep’s coven of shrieking middle-aged girlfriends – annoying and unfunny), but the overall air of relaxed classy charm shines through. Admittedly, the Santa Barbara lifestyle is slightly idealised, all the main players seem to have these amazing houses and great professions (lawyer, architect, boutique baker), yet we never really get a sense of how they might realistically inhabit their lives on a daily basis. But as a lighthearted bourgeois fantasy – where the movie wills us to throw our cynicism and disbelief away at the theatre entrance – it’s hard to begrudge the easy charisma of this throwback to an era of old-fashioned Hollywood fun. (July 2010)

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