- Rated R
- Buy the BD
All photos © Universal Pictures
Reviewed by David Medsker
here is scarcely a note of “It’s Complicated” that rings true. Everybody’s laughing at the beginning of nearly every scene, presumably because they’re so damn happy to be together. The children of the main characters all get along famously and are each other’s best friends. It’s the kind of movie that thinks New York hotel bars would expect people to dance to Tom Petty, and that a 60-year-old mother would get stoned before attending a party thrown by her children. Think of an alien race making a movie based on their observations of us; the events that take place are all things that people somewhere in the world would do, but not these people.
Meryl Streep is Jane, ten years divorced from her husband Jake (Alec Baldwin). Their son is graduating from college in New York, and the two wind up alone in the hotel bar the night before graduation. After several rounds of drinks, they hook up. The problem is that Jake has remarried, so the two must carry out their affair in secret. Jane knows it’s a terrible idea, but she secretly enjoys being the other woman as well. She begins having regrets, however, once she starts to get to know Adam (Steve Martin), the architect helping Jane out with an addition on her house. She has even greater regrets when she sees the impact that she and Jake are having on their children.
It’s surprising that Streep would be interested in playing a character like Jane, because she has no personality whatsoever, and her only distinguishing characteristic is that she laughs whenever she talks. The only character with any meat on its bones is Baldwin’s Jake, and even he is more caricature than character. Late in the movie, the children hide in bed together like seven-year-olds when they learn of their parents’ secret, despite the fact that they’re all between the ages of 22 and 27 and ten years removed from the divorce. Steve Martin’s Adam is even duller than Jane, and John Krasinski, who plays the eldest daughter Lauren’s husband, is basically playing Jim from “The Office.” Director Nancy Meyers stages two dinner scenes with Jane and three friends (one of whom may as well be named Betty Exposition) in the first 30 minutes, at which point they disappear for the rest of the movie. Lake Bell (who, once again, is awful) plays Jake’s new wife, and surprise! She’s a stone-cold bitch. Wow, didn’t see that coming.
Back to the decision to have Jane and Adam get high before arriving at Jane’s son’s party: her character would never, ever do such a thing. It’s a head-slappingly dumb idea, surrounded by slightly less dumb ideas. “It’s Complicated” is a movie devoid of logic, heart and personality, and yet another example of why there is nothing funny to be mined from the subject of divorce. The aliens need to do some more in-depth research for their next project.
Single-Disc Blu-Ray Review:
The Blu-ray release of Nancy Meyer’s latest rom-com features a pretty lackluster collection of bonus material. The audio commentary with the writer/director (and some of her crew, though you wouldn’t know it from how little they actually say) is a colossal bore, while the included making-of featurette is mainly a vehicle for the actors to gush about their fellow co-stars.