It's Complicated (2009) - Review

by - February 20, 2019

Synopsis: When attending their son's college graduation, a couple reignite the spark in their relationship. But the complicated fact is they're divorced and he's remarried.
Divorced... with Benefits.

Jane (Meryl Streep) is a woman at a crossroads. A divorced mother of three, her oldest daughter is engaged, her only son about to graduate college and her youngest is finally moving out. Her ex-husband Jake (Alec Baldwin) has remarried a younger, beautiful woman named Agnes (Lake Bell) whom he has a five-year-old son with, and so Jane is left to deal with the empty nest syndrome alone.

A successful baker, Jane is building a new addition to her home to expand her kitchen, and this is when she meets Adam (Steve Martin), a divorced architect. The two seem to hit off rather quickly, but just as Jane begins to consider delving back into the dating pool, she runs into Jake during their son's graduation, and after one too many drinks, they fall into bed together. Despite Jane's best efforts, this does not remain a one night stand. Jane and Jake continue their affair in secret while Jake's wife continues to send him to a fertility clinic so that they can get pregnant with baby number two. The problem is, Jake is pretty sure he's still in love with Jane. Or at least in love with her again. And Jane, well, she's not sure how she feels, but she finds it difficult to tell Jake no.

I'm a huge fan of Nancy Meyer's Something's Gotta Give and her ability to write her own experiences into her scripts with such grace and humor. The Holiday remains one of my favorite rom-coms. It's Complicated was a fine movie, and I enjoyed watching it, but it seemed to be missing that special something that made Something's Gotta Give click. Most of the movie focuses on Jane and Jake as they rediscover each other, all the while remembering what it was that drew them together in the first place, and what tore them apart (beyond the affair Jake had with Agnes, of course).

The problem is, even while Streep and Baldwin play so well off of one another, you sort of already know they're not going to work out. Is Jake really still in love with Jane again, or did he simply realize that the fantasy and freedom Agnes represented has now faded into martial boredom, complete with a new child and new obligations. And while Jane remains confused about her feelings, she soon realizes it's really not all that fun to be the Other Woman.

I would have loved to have seen more between Jane and Adam. Meryl Streep has a very natural, easy chemistry with Steve Martin. Adam has been divorced for a while, but it still clearly working on moving past it, giving him and Jane some common ground, and frankly, their scenes together are just sweet. My favorite part of the film is when the two of them get high and dance at her daughter's party before Jane takes him to her bakery to make him chocolate croissants. It was a shame there wasn't more of that. Steve Martin was sorely underused, which was a massive disappointment.

It's Complicated is a likable film. It has a few solid laughs and an incredibly talented cast, but it's lacking the kind of depth you can find in Something's Gotta Give and The Holiday.

Starring: Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, Lake Bell, Rita Wilson, Zoe Kazan, John Krasinski
Directed by: Nancy Meyers
Rated: R
Watched: 02.20.2019
Fun Facts:
- A body double was used for Alec Baldwin's nude scene.
- When her daughter calls while Jake is visiting, Jane says "you're still on the phone" to her when she meant "you're still on the plane". Alec Baldwin unexpectedly kissed Meryl which prompted Meryl to mess up the line. She seamlessly incorporated it into the scene and Meyers decided to use the take in the movie.
- The role of Jane was written for Meryl Streep.
Notable Song: Wouldn't It Be Nice by The Beach Boys

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