It’s Complicated

It’s Complicated is ¾ of a great movie. Alas, the bad ¼ is the last half-hour.

There are times (assuming you’re over age 30) that you will laugh so hard that milk will come out of your nose, even if you’re not drinking milk.

But then (and you’ll see it coming from a mile away), things go downhill quickly.

And instead of leaving the theater still holding your gut from being doubled over with laughter for so long, you’ll be shaking your head, wondering how it all went so wrong.

Jake (Alec Baldwin) and Jane (Meryl Streep) Adler were married for 20 years and have been divorced for ten. She’s the owner of a bakery and is living large in a 3,000 sqaure foot home, to which she is (inexplicably) adding an addition. He’s a lawyer, remarried to the hot, tight, young-ish Agness, who has a small child. When Jake and Jane come together in New York for their son’s graduation, sparks fly, and they end up in bed together.

What follows, as they navigate the should-we-or-shouldn’t-we waters, are some of the funniest moments on film this (last) year.

Thrown in Steve Martin as the architect of said addition and you got all the trappings of a hilarious Baby Boomer comedy. But it gets better. Toss in a sprinkling of John Krasinski, who steals the movie as the boyfriend of the eldest Adler child (and who discovers the affair and has to keep quiet), and it’s a recipe for pure fun.

Streep does the best she can with the script she’s given, though her constant fanning away of post-menopausal hot flashes gets a little tiresome after, say, the 12th time. Baldwin is pitch-perfect as a smarmy snake oil salesman—so much so that we start to believe he truly does have feelings for his ex. And Martin plays the architect a little more meekly than what’s maybe necessary, but he’s got heart, and he makes the perfect foil for Jake.

Everything is going along swimmingly, but then… well– I won’t spoil the ending, but no fewer than four of the four people I talked with about the movie were rooting for it to go a different way.

At one point in It’s Complicated, as Jake and Jane lie in bed after ‘rekindling’ their relationship, Jake reaches over and (with all the nuance of a linebacker) grabs Jane’s crotch, sighing, “Ah, home sweet home.”

It’s an amusing moment, but the more and more you think about it, the more and more ‘off’ it seems.

The same can be said of the whole movie.

You’ll laugh yourself silly, but then you’ll realize you’re left with just another romantic comedy… that closes with perhaps one of the most insipidly trite last lines in recent memory.

2.5/5 stars