Tuesday, March 23, 2010

IT'S COMPLICATED - A Guilty Pleasure

IT'S COMPLICATED (romantic comedy)
Cast: Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, John Krasinski, Lake Bell, Caitlin Fitzgerald, Hunter Parish and Zoe Kazan
Directors: Nancy Meyers
Screenplay: Nancy Meyers
Time: 118 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)

Baldwin and Streep in IT'S COMPLICATED

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? It's just as well that Nancy Meyers only makes a romantic comedy once in every three years. It gives us enough time to get over her current one and long for another. In 2000, she gave us kinky What Women Want; in 2003, it was the delicious Something's Gotta Give; in 2006 we had something a bit different in The Holiday; and last year, it's the indulgent It's Complicated.

It's just like spacing out binging on chocolates so that we don't feel too guilty over it. And trust me, watching this Nancy Meyers film, which borders on romantic fantasy, constitutes a guilty pleasure.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT: Jane Adler (Meryl Streep) is a successful restaurant owner, divorcee and mother of three grown-up children. Quite alone and fancy-free, she is at that stage in one's life when one is likely to start an affair. For Jane, she is about to have two simultaneously!

First off, a few drinks too many at a bar with Jake (Alec Baldwin) lands them in bed together, engaging in a steamy romp. What's so complicated about this little indiscretion is that Jake is Jane's ex-husband - and he is cheating on his young and hot-looking wife Agness (Lake Bell, right). What's more, he finds Jane so 'intoxicating' that he comes back for more!

The other 'suitor' is Jane's architect and contractor Adam (Steve Martin) who seems nice and earnest enough in trying to court the winsome Jane. What's complicated here is that Jake keeps coming in between them.

HITS & MISSES: Watching Streep in this movie reminds me of her chef in Julie & Julia. Streep being Streep is splendid - and so are most of the cast including Baldwin, Martin and John Krasinski. Baldwin surprises me by showing that he can get away with slapstick; Martin surprises me by showing that he doesn't need to go slapstick to be effective; and Krasinski manages to turn a minor role into a memorable one playing the fiance of Jane's eldest girl.

Of course, some of Meyers' attempts at being funny fail, especially when they involve the co-stars. Also, watching Streep and Baldwin going at it may seem weird to the younger audiences. It may be like watching their parents shamelessly going at it.

Meyers' atmosphere and sets are her staple - they seem to have come from a bunch of interior design magazines. Her films are always populated by upper-class snobs and here again we are 'asked' to believe that a man would want to court trouble with his 'hot' wife by going for an older woman.

THE LOWDOWN: A chick flick, but tolerable for older men.


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