It's Complicated... initially a statement describing one's love life as being in limbo is now a Facebook relationship status and a Nancy Meyers film, starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. The film has received added publicity during awards season for Streep's Best Actress nominations and after watching the film you can see why. She's the focus of this "I don't wanna go there" romance and shows off yet another fantastic comedy performance after her role as the flamboyant Julia Childs in Julie & Julia. This is Streep's film from the get-go and while she's ably supported by both Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin like a good bra, she head and shoulders above.
There's an air of her character from Mamma Mia as she twists out of post-divorce depression into a complicated web of hedonistic relationships... starting with a one night stand with her ex-husband (Baldwin) and bungling into a sweet relationship with her architect (Martin). Naturally there's plenty of scope for love as marriage, divorce and dating gets their fair share of heart on the butcher's table.
It's Complicated, really isn't... it's a two-sided affair in many respects. The first half being domineered by comedy and Jane's lasting anguish from her divorce and the new woman to falling in "love" with Jake again. The second half is stoked with drama as Jane's emotional roller coaster ride sees both stags suit up for the affections of Jane. The film functions much like your typical romantic comedy, bristling with laugh and excitement in the first half and tapering off to a more sobering resolution in the second half with Streep providing balance and continuity.
Nancy Meyers brought us Something's Gotta Give and The Holiday, two well-regarded "romcoms" with a terrific ensemble. It's Complicated is no different... instead of Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson and Amanda Peet... it's Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Lake Bell. The stars are well-balanced, except this time it's a take on the classic love triangle with smacks of Vicky Cristina Barcelona. If you enjoyed Something's Gotta Give... chances are you'll be more than satisfied with It's Complicated. The love-in-later-life territory, coping with the modern world and trying to find equilibrium are at the centre of this romantic comedy. Meyers knows what gets laughs and her script is crisp with situational comedy.
However, when drugs enter the fray, the film drops a notch... with a 16D age restriction, one could easily be forgiven for thinking it stands for divorce, but it's actually for drugs. The hedonism reaches a pinnacle at this point, something that Meyers made very obvious, but it doesn't fit the tone of It's Complicated and feels a bit forced like they were trying to squeeze out some cheap laughs. The loss of inhibition does act as a catalyst for the story's development, but cheapens the film and diminishes all the hard work of the first half.
Two hour long "romcoms" are rare by today's standards and the film would have benefited from a few more nips and tucks. Life is messy, but films don't have to be and It's Complicated just feels a little sloppy in wrapping up. They glamorize divorce and drugs in a care-free environment, but these reckless decisions eventually catch up with the characters as It's Complicated draws to a close. Overall, the cast's all-round performances and a funny script make this one work as an enjoyable, fun and upbeat romantic comedy.
The bottom line: Fun.