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Philly2Philly.com reviews It’s Complicated

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It’s not complicated: The characters may be prone to bad decisions, but filmmaker Nancy Myers  and Meryl Streep  make the romantic comedy formula look easy!

During the romantic comedy It’s Complicated, the audience gets to see Meryl Streep in a variety of compromising situations. Whether it’s the scandalous adulterous behavior, the reefer smoking session, or puke fest after a night of binge drinking, Streep proves at 60 that she’s still as adept as ever at comedy. She also keeps It’s Complicated afloat and makes it a worthwhile experience.

Nancy Meyer’s newest film is essentially a romantic comedy playground for anyone over 50. The story follows Jane, an aspiring cook, who despite reaching various degrees of success career-wise, still remains lonely. With her last child leaving the nest for college, those feelings of loneliness have become substantially modified. It's Complicated Movie

Perhaps part of the crisis is due to the fact that her ex-husband Jake (Alec Baldwin) of ten years, has moved on to greener pastures with a waif-like model insistent on getting him to procreate. Despite his new marriage, the two have managed an amicable relationship, but there are still clearly unresolved issues left from the divorce.

Things take a wild change when both Jane and Jake are reunited at a New York hotel for their son’s graduation. She, at the peak of her loneliness, and he, conveniently alone, strike up a conversation at the hotel bar that leads to many drinks, dancing, and an inevitable night of hot, adulterous sex.

Completely embarrassed beyond belief, Jane tries to shake the incident off as a one-time thing and a big mistake. Jake, on the other hand, isn’t convinced so easily and begins to pursue Jane intensely, pushing the affair. Clearly, he is attracted to the independent, confident woman she has become in the last ten years, while she can’t help but be sucked back in by his charms.

It’s Complicated is definitely one of Nancy Myer's stronger works. She hit gold in the 90’s with the classic comedy Father of the Bride, and Something’s Gotta Give and The Holiday  both had their pleasurable moments. But too often her films run too long, and are crippled by over the top performances and routine, half-baked plot mechanics.

One of the reasons the movie rises above the typical faults can be attributed to the lead actors. Myers is extremely lucky to have Streep, who brings considerable depth to Jane, a character as human and likable as any romantic comedy heroine out there. Streep makes some questionable decisions, but she exudes such a down to earth persona, accompanied with plenty of natural humor, that the audience roots for Jane. Alec Baldwin is a close second, playing his egotistical, sex-crazed character to the max. He’s having a blast, but he also comes off as an affable doofus, one an audience could see themselves falling for. Steve Martin, sadly, barely registers as the love interest.

Performances aside, It’s Complicated moves smoothly and at least clocks in under two hours, a good thing considering Meyer’s tendency to ramble. The whole endeavor is a bit more mature than her previous films as well, which is also something to note. That said, Meyer’s does fall short by not showcasing secondary characters in the movie.

However, flaws considered, It’s Complicated is good holiday entertainment. It has quite a few laugh-out-loud moments, and the whole thing coasts on the incredible craft and charm of Meryl Streep. Elsewhere, the film is reasonably well written, polished, and solid overall. Consider it a middle aged romantic comedy achievement.

Grade: B-