It’s Complicated | Nancy Meyers, 2009
I consider Something’s Gotta Give to be one of my favorite romantic comedies of the decade because it is a refreshing, cleverly written, well directed, and excellently performed movie about a subject that we have seen many times before. Nancy Meyer’s tried to take that momentum and apply it to another generation with The Holiday, but she failed misserably. I mean, how bad were the scrip and the direction for Kate Winslet to give a bad performance. So, with It’s Complicated she tried to go back to safe territory once again with a story about a divorce couple having an affair. It had a great cast and potential, yet it is a complete failure that is elevated above worst-of-the-year status because of the performances.
As I said, It’s Complicated is the story of Janey (Meryl Streep) and Jake (Alec Baldwin), a divorce couple. He is married to a much younger woman, and she is just getting over the break-up. One day, at their son’s graduation, they have sex and they decide to have an affair. At the same time, Janey is falling for Adam (Steve Martin), the architecture who is working on an extension for her house. So, from there she is confused and feels the affair is wrong, but she likes it, and hilarity is supposed to ensue.
The main reason why this fails is because of Meyers’ script and direction. The script brings absolutely nothing new to the table, the character are not believable at all, and the dialogue is freaking horrible. The only character that I liked was the one played by John Krasinski, but even then it was horribly written. The direction is uninteresting and the entire thing just feels like I was looking at a catalogue of pretty items that I cannot afford to have. Also, I can pretty much tell you her mis-en-scene formula: montage set to music, dialogue, repeat.
The movie’s saving grace are the performances from the three headline actors. Meryl Streep has very little to do. All she does is be nervous, laugh, and smoke some pot. That’s all, yet she does it with such grace, and she looks like she is having fun. Alec Baldwin’s character is a softer version of Jack Donaghy, so he rocks. And Steve Martin is playing the type of character that I like to see him play, serious with some moments of quirkiness.
It’s Complicated could have been a great movie. But because of an awful script and direction, it is a failure. The cast deserved a better vehicle for their performances, but at least they got to eat some awesome pastries.