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In Review: It's Complicated

Updated on January 4, 2010

If you haven't already seen it, do you plan on seeing It's Complicated?

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Not For Children

Do you enjoy comedies that just happen to be romantic? Are you a fan of Meryl Streep and would see her in anything? Could you use some help coming to terms with your divorce? If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions than chances are you will enjoy It’s Complicated.

Set in modern day Santa Barbara, California, It’s Complicated tells the story of Jane (Meryl Streep), a self-reliant divorcee who owns and runs a successful bakery. When the movie opens, we learn that ten years ago, due to ex-husband Jake’s (Alec Baldwin), infidelity, their seemingly perfect marriage came to an end. Ten years and thousands of hours of therapy later, Jane is at the point where she can be friends with Jake. During a weekend away from his current wife/the lady he cheated on Jane with, he and Jane end up reconnecting over dinner and begin an affair. Though Jane struggles with the relationship at first (Is this relationship healthy? Can she cause the woman who ruined her marriage the same pain that she inflicted upon her?), she decides that, for the first time in her life, she’ll go with the flow and enjoy being bad. However, around the same time, she ends up falling for her architect, a man named Adam (Steve Martin) who has it bad for her. How can she and Jake keep their children from finding out? Who will Jane pick in the end? Will her house’s addition ever be finished? To learn the answers to these questions, you must see the movie!

Written and directed by Nancy Meyers (The Holiday, What Women Want), It’s Complicated is a very funny movie in a very awkward way. Though not chalk full of surprises, it flows at an even pace and has a satisfying ending. It will make you laugh, but, more often than not, the antics will make you emit a gasp, followed by some blushing. It is not a child-friendly movie by any means though the lady in front of me who brought her young son would probably want to debate this with me. As far as acting is concerned, Meryl Streep is as terrific as one would expect her to be as is Steve Martin. Alec Baldwin is as sleazy as ever which, depending on how you look at it, could be seen as either good or bad. As Jane’s soon to be son-in-law, relative newcomer John Krasinski stole the show. His comic timing is spot on and his delivery is subtle. The best scene of the movie involves Streep, Baldwin, Krasinski and a bathroom and once you see the film, I’m sure you’ll agree.

For many people, Jane’s story is all too relatable. You’re in a seemingly perfect relationship with someone you love for a number of years and then suddenly you’re not and you’re left feeling wronged. You weren’t young enough. You weren’t “there” for them enough. You didn’t “get” them anymore. There are a thousand excuses for them walking out on you and not a single one of them can ever get you to understand why they left you for someone who doesn’t have an eighth of your wondrous character traits. It’s maddening and unfair and a test of everything that makes you “you.” Like Jane, I’m sure you were faced with the dilemma of what to do next. Should you move on with your life as a testament to how strong you are or should you stay on the sidelines, hoping they’ll return to you so you can go back to the way things were before? With Jane in mind, she moved on. She became a better version of herself and, seeing this, her ex was intrigued. Throwing caution to the wind, she entered into a different phase of her relationship with her ex. To some, her behavior could’ve been seen as taking a step back. To Jane, it was what she needed to finally be free. On a side note, as the child of a divorced couple, watching this movie made me thankful that my father passed away years ago. I don’t think I could’ve handled seeing my parents get back together after they had changed my life so deeply by deciding to split up. I’m sure other adults with divorced parents would agree.

It’s Complicated is not one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. Yet, it is the first movie to make me laugh from my stomach in recent years. As it deals with sexual humor, I would not recommend this movie to someone who would find such jokes offensive. I also, despite seeing otherwise, would not recommend this movie to families. Yes, laughter is universal and is the best medicine. However, young people with inquisitive minds asking uncomfortable questions about older bodies and sex after seeing a movie with mom is funny to others, but probably not to the mom. I do recommend this movie to everyone of the age appropriate audience though and hope it will make you laugh as much as it made me laugh.


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