Movie Review: It’s Complicated


 

The BEST date movie EVER!  Dozens of belly laughs throughout the movie.  If you’ve loved and lost or never loved at all, It’s Complicated will make your heart sing.  Guys, if you want to get lucky, see this movie with the woman in your life.  I’m about as cynical and jaded as a woman can be about men, but I left the theater thinking it might be about time to bring my self-imposed 17+ years of celibacy to an end!     

Nancy Meyers, the director, has given us some of the best chick flicks ever:  What Women Want, Private Benjamin, Something’s Gotta Give, and Irreconcilable Differences.  Her films reflect the challenges real people face.  This film is a love triangle between a pair of execs (Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin) with benefits and an architect (Steve Martin) who is expanding her home.  In Ms. Meyers’ own words:

I was drawn to the subject of divorce. Not the bitter side of the break-up, but the post-divorce world exes find themselves in and how their relationship, in many many ways, never really ends. . .the day-to-day post-divorce world. The bumping into one another, figuring out how to still parent together, how to live in the same town together. Notice how much the word “together” still exists once you’re divorced?   

 I wanted Jane to be happy without Jake.  She’s earned that. 

Jane was stuck in the shadow of her marriage. She slipped back in momentarily, and that’s maybe all she needed to finally come out the other side. I don’t know that she “ends up” with Adam, but I imagine them as a couple with real potential.
  
She is definitely braver than I am, and it was fun writing that bravery and the choices she would make and the chances she would allow herself to take. 
Ms. Meyers’ turned the tables on stereotypes.  Alec Baldwin cheated during the 19-year marriage and married his much-younger mistress.  As the movie opens, the couple reunites at a party 10 years post-divorce.  He is clearly regretting his choices.  She has moved on.  She runs a highly successful restaurant in Santa Barbara, CA.  She’s adding on to her house.  Steve Martin is interested and intrigued.  She’s happy.  

Meryl Streep articulated why this movie is so liberating:

[Ms. Meyers] tapped into something deep about families who’ve encountered divorce…or anybody who has been abandoned by someone they love. . .forgotten women:  women who don’t see their lives played out the way they do in this film. There are no movies in which a woman, 10 years happily divorced, reignites a relationship with her ex. This is not a common occurrence in movies…or in life.

How often do we get to go back to the loves we’ve lost to examine honestly and lovingly what went wrong with the relationship?  Yet, we all need the closure so that we can move on to a relationship that will hopefully be happier and healthier and more loving. 

The movie was cast brilliantly.  Alec Baldwin is very credible as a self-absorbed attorney who is happiest when he is cheating on his wife.  Meryl Streep brings her dignity and strength of character and humor to the movie.  Ironically, she’s more passionate about food in this movie than she was in Julie & Julia.  Her chemistry with Baldwin was what was missing from that movie.  Steve Martin is brilliant as the divorced, introspective, sensitive architect who quickly realizes there’s a triangle going on ~ the same issue that broke up his own marriage.  

Alec Baldwin is the bad boy too many of us have loved.  There’s something charismatic and sexy about them that draws us in.  Steve Martin, on the other hand, is the guy who will make us happy if we give him the chance.  He’s solid and healthy.  He listens.  He cares.  And, he’s strong enough to avoid being drawn into the drama.   

There’s some poetic justice when the former mistress, now current wife, realizes her husband is cheating on her with his ex-wife.  She kicks Alec Baldwin to the curb.

I left the theater thinking that intimately sharing food, drink, and conversation is about the best foreplay on the planet.  I wanted to live in Jane’s house in Santa Barbara and cook in her kitchen.  And, I want to find myself a good guy.  I’m done with abusive men who cheat. . .I never could comprehend why a man with steak at home would go out for hamburger.  But, they do. I can’t wait for this movie to come out on DVD.

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10 responses to “Movie Review: It’s Complicated

  1. Absolutely right on the money! The movie was completely liberating and encouraging for those of us sitting on the sidelines to get in the game. Life is short – all of life! Enjoy and especially go see and enjoy this wonderful and wonderfully funny movie. The casting was superb! Every character – again right on the money! Especially the incredible soon-to-be son-in-law! Loved it!

  2. Okay, I liked this movie so much, that I have now seen it twice in less than one-week! It simply is a joy to share! You will certainly do yourself a hugh favor and an awesome treat by seeing it! I laughed just as much and as hard the second time! Of course, it is very fun seeing it with someone how hasn’t. ENJOY!

  3. Well, you won’t be sorry…. and by the way, in my earlier comment – I am sorry that I can’t type! “hugh” was supposed to be huge, and “how” should have read who! I really need to slow down . . . Enjoy the movie and I sincerely hope you do as much as I did!

  4. BTS (more on that later)

    I enjoyed your take on the film and agreed with many of your expressed comments. Thanks for the good read.

    I live in Florida but I did spend one day in Washington State riding on of those ferries that go back and forth from Seattle to Bainbridge. Loved the ride.

    I am wondering if you identified with the pot smoking scene, or if the audience that you were a part of, really enjoyed that scene. In the theater I was in today, that scene had the house roaring , and got the most laughs beside Baldwin’s Botticelli pose with the I-chat still connected on Jane’s laptop.

    BTS – Bloggers Typo Syndrome – almostt unavoidable.

    my own review is here
    http://jmmnewaov2.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/its-complicated/

  5. Actually, I’m like Bill Clinton ~ tried it once ~ discovered Chivas was more effective + less likely to keep me from practicing law if I got stoned. Alas, I lost my taste for Scotch when I lost my taste for the last love in my life. I’m fond of wine.

    Still, I howled through the scene ~ the Botticelli pose was an absolute a hoot.

    My own favorite scene? That’s hard. There were so many. Lots of belly laughs throughout the movie.

    Ahhh. . .the opening scene which I later discovered was filmed near Montecito. Yes, the ferry rides here are a marvel. I find every excuse possible to get on a ferry. I also love, love, love the beaches on the west coast of Florida. Our beaches here tend to be rocky and stinky at low tide.

    Folks, go check out this guy’s site. He writes fabulous reviews with LOTS of photos. Here’s a link to his review of It’s Complicated:
    http://jmmnewaov2.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/its-complicated/

    I’ve added him to my blogroll so you can check out all his reviews.

    BTS ~ that’s a new one on me ~ LOL ~ WordPress’ spell check is way too slow.

    Thanks for stopping by, Mike. Hope you’ll come back again. Good luck with your blog ~ it’s fabulous!

  6. Thanks for taking the time to debate this, I feel strongly regarding it and love learning a lot of on this topic. If attainable, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more data? It’s very useful for me.

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