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What's complicated is trying to explain how the new movie from Nancy
Meyers is actually okay despite its numerous, glaring faults. The plot
is formulaic, the characters are one dimensional and the humour is
hit-and-miss, yet somehow the female counterpart to Richard Curtis
ensures you leave the cinema not thinking you wasted your hard earned
cash. I suppose her previous directing experience What Women Want,
The Holiday, Something's Gotta Give, the latter two she is also wrote
has taught her a thing or two about romcoms.
When focussing on the laughs Meyers has some success, the leading trio along with Krasinski (playing the son-in-law) have natural comic timing that ensures even the mediocre jokes draw a smile to your face. However, when the drama takes front and centre in the second half the film halts with a splatter; the last act that ties up all the loose ends is especially dull and tiresome. It's a shame about the mood shift because when the chuckles are no longer on offer the flaws become much more evident.
Despite having only cardboard cut-outs to work with, the experience of Streep, Baldwin and Martin combined is enough to gloss over the lack of depth afforded their characters. Streep's Jane is given a hint of insight, the most of any them, and the greatest actress of our generation fills the rest with her undisputed talent and likability. Surprisingly Martin isn't given many opportunities to stretch his rib-tickling muscles as Adam, the bulk of those going to Baldwin in a standout performance as the ebullient Jake a 58 year old man with the energy, and libido, of a 16 year old.
This film has no right to be watchable, but unexplainably, it is.
3 out of 5 (1 - Rubbish, 2 - Ordinary, 3 - Good, 4 - Excellent, 5 - Classic)
Buddhika MN - your review said it all. what a horrible piece of garbage. It was so gross having to watching alec in heat and meryl acting like a giggling school girl. Meryl's character was silly and immature. I love romcom movies and this was not it. Meryl has not been picking good movies over the last couple of years. maybe because there's not a lot to pick from. I totally stayed away from mama mia. Did anyone notice how alec (dad) paid zero attention to his kids and they didn't pay any attention to him. that was another place where the story fell apart. Also, her character was so perfect, so why didn't she find anyone over the past ten years? Alec left her for another woman and she has no anger towards him and feels bad for being an adulterer? And he was going to have a baby with a woman (lake bell) who cheated on him and had a kid with someone else. wouldn't ya think meryl's character would question her ex's lack of self confidence or moral values. Horrible movie.
Awful flick! don't believe other reviews...you'll hate this flick if
you have 2 oz of brains left. it's unbearably predictably and poorly
written. Its so done to appeal to 40/50 something divorced chicks
the "talent" walks thru this flick like they're late for the check cashing machine.
the exposition is 3rd grade at best
there is absolutely ZERO to recommend about this movie. Bad acting in a bad story and a poorly directed bit of junk
but guess what? it's an insulting waste of film.
This movie is bad on so many levels, I don't have enough room to list
them all. The script is full of poorly-written movie comedy clichés,
hollow characters, and an implausible storyline that, even for a
traditional Hollywood romantic comedy, seems insulting.
Meryl Streep is the one shining star, not for part she played, but for the actress that she is. It's a shame that she was pulled into such a disaster of a project. Alex Baldwin plays the same unappealing life loser he's been portraying in all of his movies and TV shows lately, and Steve Martin acts uncharacteristically bland. It's not worth the two hours of your life to watch, or the few dollars to rent.
This movie is a chic flick that is custom-tailored to the insecurities
of older women (obviously the target audience). It reduced Alec
Baldwin's role to a woman's cliché about men, in that all it takes is
one great lay and they fall in love. He isn't a person but rather a
prop without a personality. The script is garbage written from a
woman's point of view in that protagonist (Streep) shouldn't be
accountable for any of her actions: 1. Baldwin leaves Streep for a
bimbo (his fault), 2. Baldwin marries the bimbo after the bimbo screws
around and has another man's child (so Baldwin and Streep are not
accountable to the young family they are about to destroy), 3. Baldwin
courts Streep after Streep tries to renounce (again making Streep
blameless), 4. Oh what the hell, it's OK to have an affair as she was
married to Baldwin before, so who is to blame? (story premise), 5.
Meryl's friends all exalt and act happy that she's having an affair,
even before they realize it's with her ex-husband (Who can blame her?
She isn't accountable as she needed sex). In the battle of the sexes,
men complain that women have no sense of accountability. This script is
shamelessly contrived, and provides an unintended support of that
frequent male complaint.
What compelled me to watch the movie was the cast, as I greatly admire Meryl Streep and the comic genius of Steve Martin. Yet they were both wasted as the movie lacked humor and insight. The script approached the insecurities of an older woman from an insincere, self-serving and manipulative point of view. Film allows us to examine our insecurities from the point of view of the character, and we learn much about ourselves by the honesty. For example, what makes older Woody Allen movies charming is that they are filled with self-obsessed insecurity, but he always attacked his insecurities with honesty and humor, which yielded laughs and insight. This movie lacked the courage, conviction and humor to address the definition of aging femininity within the context of relationships. I think a wonderful movie could be constructed along those lines, and given the aging population base it could be a hit at the box office.
Meryl Streep can do no wrong. She is by far the greatest American actress in my lifetime. This is an excellent and smart comedy about effects of divorce and dating late in life. Similar to 'Somethings Gotta to Give' but more thoughtful, younger and fresher. Meyers covers a lot of the unresolved emotions left behind after a divorce quite well and has made it heartfelt, funny and hilarious at times especially during scenes involving Krasinski. Shot beautifully in gorgeous Santa Barbara, Streep's character is played with depth for a woman her age being a divorced caring mother, struggling to come to terms with her feelings for her ex-husband while trying to move on with her life as a single woman and also balancing her needs over her children's. Baldwin is excellent as the regretful husband and you genuinely feel sorry for him. The children are portrayed well as also having been deeply affected by the situation. Martin on the other hand plays it straight but provides the balance for the drama and comedy in the movie. All in all it is a pleasant comedy both truly funny and smart; its worth the ticket price and a future DVD purchase. I appreciated that the subject matter was treated more realistically leaving me with a satisfying feeling instead of being filled with your typical romantic comedy clichés and endings.
During the interim between Sex and the City and Sex and the CityII in
theaters, women 45 and up (give or take a few years) can all cloister
together and indulge in Nancy Meyers' fantasy on a wacky infidelity
rom-com. It's so wacky that one might suspect that, had it been made
seventy years ago and Alec Baldwin's ass been out of frame (and the pot
excised), it could easily be shown on TCM in morning slots during the
week, the time of day one usually sees those romantic comedies
(half-screwball, half-whatever) that concern relationships where not
much is really wrong except the nature of perception. It's a fluffy
little movie made for the libido left in middle-aged women, though I'm
sure the movie will get (and has already gotten) many viewers of any
sex or age - whether the men went willingly I have to just take a
The cast is hard to resist, and even if they were just riding around on tricycles and whistling Yankee Doodle Dandy for the whole running time we'd go see it for Streep, Baldwin, Martin, even Krasinski for some of us Office fans. It's about successful people with very nice homes (one of which, Streep's successful divorcée baker-CEO, needs even MORE bedroom and kitchen and so on, just in case she needs to get her Charles Foster Kane on), and how Streep and Baldwin's characters, divorced from each other for ten years, suddenly have a drunken night of sex, and then against (some of) their better judgment it continues when they go home to California. And then wackiness, of course, ensues when Martin, a very nice and sincere guy, falls for Streep, and she likes him too. What to do with all these men? Make croissants and smoke pot, of course.
Like Something's Gotta Give, it's a very light affair with actors/stars that are hard to ignore how good they are (before it was Nicholson and Keaton, now Streep and Baldwin part of Meyer's stupid frivolity and sex jokes), but it's also hard to take it entirely too seriously. We see how conflict-free the relationship is between these two people, who have known each other and off-and-on loved each other since their 20's, and not once, until the sort of abrupt and predictable ending, do we see conflict erupt and the affair take a turn. But there's nothing really to see Streep's character have a problem with. She's almost too bubbly, an escapism icon that is hard to shrug off.... and yet, the movie is filled with some really funny moments, almost in spite of itself. Baldwin especially is having a great time in his liberated sort-of adulterer, and Martin gets his first genuine laughs in years (albeit in a silly pot-smoking scene that's like Cheech and Chong for dummies).
It's glossy, it's nice, it's got a scene involving the three kids of the ex-couple stunned in bed as if ten years were just yesterday, and in the end everything is neat and tidy. And like any given Sex and the City episode (or for that matter the first movie), it's something I will likely forget entirely in a week or so. 5.5/10
This was a good comedy for the 1st half but the 2nd half was largely
laugh free and thus seemed incoherent overall. The viewer wasn't sure
if this was a comedy or a drama. Some of these dramadies work (see "500
Days of Summer") but this didn't work because the ending didn't close
well and the viewer wasn't sure what to make of it.
Part of the problem was Alec Baldwin was such a likable character but was written up to be a cad who we aren't supposed to feel the least bit sorry for. Steve Martin wasn't all that likable, but the way it was written he came out on top. But why? I can't see how the Producers, who focus group these things eight ways to Sunday, thought this ending was a winner.
The children were also incoherent. We are lead to believe they loved their Dad (Baldwin) but when he discloses he wants to get back with their Mom (Meryl Streep), they seem to go catatonic with grief, curling under the covers with tears in their eyes. One minute they love him and want him around all of the time and the next minute they are numb with confused feelings of disbelief. It was all a bit confusing.
In any event, it's worth seeing just to see the performances of Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep. They were both great and Baldwin's was particularly noteworthy. It might be the highpoint of his movie career.
I went to see this film on a Sunday afternoon, 4 o'clock. I walked into
the theatre expecting only a few scattered seats to be occupied by
ladies of a certain age, but to my surprise ànd contentment the theatre
was filled for about 90% with both genders and all ages. And why not? I
have read some article in some movie magazine saying that this is
supposedly a film with a relatively small budget aimed at a relatively
small audience (aforementioned ladies) but why would that be? I could
not have been the only one in the audience who has no similarities with
the film's characters: I am not nearing 60 years of age, I am not
divorced, I have no children, I am not having an affair. Yet I do have
a sense of humour and that is really all that is required when watching
Because boy, this movie is funny as hell. And I was not the only one to think so: both genders and all ages were bursting with laughter throughout the movie. The jokes were really good, the actors even better. Meryl Streep was excellent (but hey, has anybody ever seen less than excellence of this lady?), Alec Baldwin was solid, Steve Martin should really take on more serious roles because he's pretty good at it and let's not forget John Krasinski who has a small but very cute and very funny part in this movie.
This is definitely one to watch. Perfect if you are in a good mood and perhaps even better if you are in a bad one -- you will leave the theatre with a huge smile on your face.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's Complicated (2009): Dir: Nancy Meyers / Cast: Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, John Krasinski, Lake Bell: Hilarious romantic comedy about regret. Meryl Streep plays a chef and mother, and Alec Baldwin plays her ex husband who is involved in an unsuccessful relationship with a younger woman. Director Nancy Meyers springs humour from the affair between the two. Meyers is a bankable director having made such entertaining films as The Holiday and Something's Gotta Give. Streep brings out the guilt, confusion and yearning of a woman drawn back to the past. She delights in the youthful feeling of affection. Baldwin brings out the regret of his past decision and the amusement of rediscovering what he originally had. His fascination with young love turns into a demanding standoff with a son who shares his mother's sense of self. Steve Martin plays a construction contractor whom becomes involved with Streep. He is innocent but unable to sideline Baldwin's pursuits. In the end he is in the right state of mind. Other roles are pretty much cardboard mainly consisting of the couple's children who band together and hunch on the behavior of their mother and father. Amongst those is John Krasinski as Streep's son, and Lake Bell as Baldwin's wife and neither can stand against the three leads. It examines marriage and relationships and other complications. Score: 8 ½ / 10
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