It's Complicated (2009) Poster

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Its simple, really
Philby-325 February 2010
"It's Complicated" is pretty simple, actually. Successful Californian food store owner Meryl Streep has been happily divorced from her former husband Alex Baldwin for the last ten years, but on a trip to New York to attend their son's graduation, she starts an affair with him. He happens to have re-married, to a younger woman, while she becomes involved with her architect Steve Martin. Will Meryl and Alec get back together again, or will she set off into the sunset with Steve. ​What will the children think? Do we care?

Well, not a lot. The lifestyle depicted is one in which everything is perfect, especially the cast's complexions. There are no human imperfections depicted, unless you count lust. All the characters, with the partial exception of Meryl, are stereotypes – people from Advertising land. In real life things are much more complicated.

That said, this is a superior piece of its type and it passes the watch test (I didn't look at my watch while viewing it). True, I could watch Meryl reading the phone book, and yes the dialogue was witty and the set pieces funny, and I had some guilty enjoyment from all the affluence. But really it was all too sweet, like Meryl's chocolate cake. Alex Baldwin does a passable LA lawyer while Steve Martin seems to be in the wrong movie.
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Meyers Best...Streep sexy at 60
Clayton Davis10 December 2009
In the best work of her career Nancy Meyers presents the funny comedy, It's Complicated starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin.

This fast-paced, smart comedy is everything in a mature work that didn't succeed with films such as Something's Gotta Give. Meyers creates three authentic characters with sympathy and everyday qualities that make them identifiable and first-class writing genius.

The film tells the story of Jane (Streep), who's ten year post-divorce from Jake (Baldwin), who left her for a much younger woman, hasn't necessarily become water under the bridge. Trying to find some type of happiness in her later years, she meets Adam (Martin), a sensitive architect, who is designing her new kitchen and has had his fair share of divorce stories in the past. But when attending their son's college graduation, Jane and Jake find that everything is as simple as it once seemed.

The cast here is one of the best ensemble works of the year. Meryl Streep is naturalistic and in top form showing her sexier side at 60. Streep shows that she can still create a character from scratch and make the woman as real as anyone walking down the streets of New York City. It's one of her funnier turns in years.

Alec Baldwin, in one of his best performances to date, shows immaturity and careless can get you far in a film. Showing top comedic work, Baldwin seems in the hunt for Oscar recognition. His charm and magnetism is quite surprising as we haven't seen him give a performance this funny ever, not even in his hit sitcom "30 Rock." Steve Martin, who I have found overdoes his comedy in some of his later years in film is in control and utterly enjoyable. Martin shows a sensitive side reminiscent of his works in Roxanne and Parenthood, and finds an audience cheer with empathetic tendencies can get you right back to what you do best. It's a return to form for Martin.

John Krasinski, who plays Harley, one of Jane's daughter's fiancée, is totally hilarious and drives away from the comedy we once found funny in his "Jim" on NBC's hit sitcom "The Office." Krasinski, in many ways upstages some of the veterans on film as he steals a lot of the spotlight. Krasinski is an outstanding talent to watch out for in the near future as he branches out into more demanding roles.

It's Complicated couldn't have succeeded without Nancy Meyers finally showing what good writing can do with the right people, time, and effort put into place. It's the work of her career and she remains a dark horse for an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Though the film will definitely appeal to an older generation, the younger can appreciate the zeal and comical dialogue shared between the players. The film does run a bit long and loses some of it's spark in the finale act, but it's pure entertainment and a must-see of the holiday season.
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Conflicted about "Complicated"
cliffgold-125 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I am conflicted about "It's Complicated." As you would expect, the acting is impeccable. Three exceptional actors (Queen Meryl, 30 Rock's Emmy winner Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin) ply their craft perfectly. She is Jane, a late-50s divorcée, luxury bakery owner, and mother of three grown kids. Jake (Baldwin) is the cad of an ex-husband who remarried a much younger woman, Agness (played by Lake Bell) but who remains close to the kids and even to Jane. Martin plays Adam, the architect who has designed Jane's dream home addition, which includes the kitchen she always wanted (a nod to her turn as Julia Child in Julie & Julia). When the whole family goes to New York for the youngest child's graduation, the chick flick begins. The kids go off to a party, leaving Jane to dine by herself in the hotel restaurant/bar. Jake is there alone, too, since his wife and her precocious son conveniently stayed home when the kid got sick. Surprise! Jane and Jake end up drinking and eating at the bar, having a good old time and landing in the sack. The PG bedroom scenes are the best in the movie.

As the trailer depicts, the two start an unusual affair, she feeling guilt, he having second thoughts about his new marriage. Jane confides in her best friends (played by all-star veterans Rita Wilson, Mary Kay Place and Alexandra Wentworth), who are totally superfluous to the film, and her shrink, all of whom encourage her to pursue her indiscretion. Enter Adam, a wild and sensitive guy, as the nice guy Jane needs. He and Baldwin are polar opposites. By now, we all know where the film is headed.

So what's not to like? Plenty. Writer/director Nancy Meyers hates philandering men. Fine. So why is Jane's character painted so sympathetically? She's doing the same thing to Agness that broke up her marriage and sent her into a 10-year skid. Meyers, who also directed chick flicks "What Women Want," "Something's Gotta Give," and "The Holiday," lets the movie lag for almost 20 minutes in the middle. I wanted to scream: Move it along! The film doesn't hit its stride until 75 minutes in, propelled by an unlikely scene where Jane and Adam share a joint and make fools of themselves at a party. Lastly, just when you think the movie is going to give you an unconventional ending, it doesn't. I adore the actors, like the genre, bought the premise, and ultimately was disappointed.
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Not Even Close To Complicated
DKosty12323 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This script was mailed in from a writer having a mental block.

The plot is about as simple as any romantic comedy ever written.

Middle aged husband with kids dumps old wife for younger model. Starts having more kids and then realizes maybe he had made a mistake as the young one is making him unhappy.

Then he meets his ex-wife for a weekend of fun like they have not had in years.

Of course there is a third wheel who is romancing the Ex. The kids are wondering who is craziest.

I vote for the script writers.

They must have been nuts to write this trash.

Maybe they should watch something complicated to find out how simple and awful this one is.
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Very disappointing
selffamily8 July 2010
Wondered what this would be like - after all Mama Mia was dreadful, and even though I'm in the target group for loving it (over 50, woman etc) I found it sad and overindulgent. My first impression on seeing the family house was of the clutter, and then I spent much of the film being aghast at what surgery has done to a couple of the main characters. I haven't see Alex Baldwin in anything for years, and he's very good. But what is the matter with people? why did the main character need permission from her psychiatrist to shag her ex-husband - or anyone? Why were the three adult kids so wimpish? Why didn't they all just suck it up and get on with life? Why do rich people park their cars so far from their houses and get wet? I couldn't help wondering how the Brits would have produced this - or the Australians. A much funnier picture, I'd be bound, and with less angst. Message to the producers - we're not all children out here, needing stuff to be spelled out letter by letter; a bit of subtlety is OK. I see now why I don't watch many modern movies from America - they have become unbearable.
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Let's Have More of This!
papacorn25 December 2009
I would give It's Complicated an 11 if it were possible! There isn't anything I would change about this movie. Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin have a chemistry that I'm willing to beg and plead will go on. I want to see more of this duo. My direct request to Nancy Meyers is "keep these intelligent scripts coming." This story is an antidote to all the stupid stuff that's being shoveled out of Hollywood. Give us more of this! It's Complicated has both humor and pathos. Steve Martin plays a great foil to Baldwin's character. He's attractive and vulnerable. Streep has a genuine dilemma of riches with these two. If she would have to choose, how could she? In different ways, equally appealing, these guys wear their hearts on their sleeves. And before all the male moviegoers say, "ugh" and cross it off as a "chick flick," note that men in the audience laughed as hard and loud as women. "Hilarious" honestly applies to this film. The script is tight. The supporting cast is very natural. Jim Krasinski, is especially good in his role as son-in-law. An important note, it's rated R, so leave the kids with a sitter. Treat yourself to a movie that won't bring you down nor insult your intelligence. You'll delight in what fine actors can do when all the ingredients are there.
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Rich white people working through problems all the while being rich and white
Wes Lambert6 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The set-up for "It's Complicated" seemed promising - middle aged woman (Meryl Streep) who thinks she has her post divorce life figured out finds herself "the other woman" when she starts an affair with her ex husband (Alec Baldwin). Meryl Streep does all things well including comedy and Alec Baldwin is the perfect fit for a character who is full of himself and conveniently self delusional. Throw in Steve Martin and John Krasinksi (who mines comic gold each week on "The Office") and I was expecting a diverting 120 minutes. Instead this movie irritated me continuously for 2 hours. What went wrong? I am going to cut the actors some slack and lay the blame at the feet of director and writer Nancy Meyers. She tends to write movies that have a thin veneer of neurotic self-entitlement. Sometimes it works or is at least tolerable as in "The Holiday" but here she lays it on a bit thick. Streep's Jane is the type of woman who has feng shui'd her life into submission, watches "The Hills" with her daughter, and makes ice cream when she can't sleep ( funny, all I get are bags under my eyes). Her romantic dilemma is a choice between two men - an architect who lost his wife to another man on a couples bike tour of Italy and the ex who lives under the twin threat of his younger wife's fascist ovulation schedule and a demon step-child. Cliché on top of cliché that eventually eclipses the acting.

Speaking of acting. What a waste to have Jim Krasinksi in this movie. His role as Jane's future son-in-law is to wince, shrug, smile and sigh. Note to Nancy Meyers, facial expressions and body language are only the beginning of emoting and not the final product. Last note and then I will stop beating up on the movie, I promise. I don't know what Jane's three adult children are supposed to represent but they are harpy, over emotional and creepy in a Stepford sort of way. As a child of divorce I can tell you I would've ended up in therapy if anyone ever suggested snuggling in bed with my adult siblings as comfort from a divorce that happened ten years prior.
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Has its moments
moviesleuth22 January 2010
Nancy Meyers is famous for tapping into a largely ignored market: middle-aged women. She acknowledges that women don't cease to exist after they grow older than Jessica Alba (anyone older than that loses their sex appeal in the eyes of movie studios, and that's the only thing that keeps audiences interested in these sorts of movies).

I am not a member of this market. However, I am open to movies to which I am not a targeted member. That, and I love Meryl Streep. I have seen Nancy Meyers' previous effort, "Something's Gotta Give," a movie that started out okay, but ended up being an overlong disaster that I hated. Still, this movie sounded promising, especially with Streep, who has never made a bad movie, so I checked it out. While it is certainly better than "Something's Gotta Give," it is nowhere near a complete success.

Jane (Meryl Streep) is a divorced mother of three, and an empty nester. Years after her divorce, she's finally gotten her life back together (or at least she thinks she does). However, her life is going to get a little...complicated. Her ex, Jake (Alec Baldwin) has just realized that he is still in love with Jane, and they ensue in an affair (which, ironically, was one of the reasons why they divorced in the first place). At the same time, she's also attracted the attention of her architect, Adam (Steve Martin). Now Jane has to balance these two romances out, and complications ensue.

Meryl Streep is widely recognized as one of the greatest actresses alive (and in my opinion, one of the best who ever lived). Yet with 13 Oscar nods, she hasn't done much in the way of comedy. She got a taste of it in last year's "Mamma Mia," but with this film, she gets to do some scenes that are openly funny. And she shows everyone that she can be just as successful in a comedy as a drama. Many of the film's comic scenes wouldn't be as funny without her. Her co-stars, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, are no stranger to being funny, and Streep manages to keep up with them. Speaking of, Baldwin and Martin are on the same level as Streep. Baldwin is equally good in the comic scenes as well the dramatic scenes, and so is Martin (surprisingly...he hasn't gotten much chance to do drama. Hopefully, this performance will signal a change, because he's got some good dramatic chops as well as comic aptitude). Had this film been better directed, they could have been looking at some Oscar nods. Special mention has to go to John Krasinski, because even though he became famous for the ultra-understated humor of "The Office," he is also great at more energetic humor too. Lake Bell has little to do than be a post-trophy wife that is often referenced, but not seen.

Nancy Meyers may have tapped into the market for middle aged women, but she's only at the top because she's the only one in it. Meyers is not an especially great screenwriter or director. The dialogue is nothing special, and her direction is flat, which renders the drama more inert than it should be. The comedy only works because of the actors, not Meyers; this should be construed as a compliment to Streep, Baldwin and Martin, since the comedy is not adequately set up. Many of the plot points exist because Meyers is trying to follow the formula of "romantic comedy," even if what happens doesn't make sense.

If you like Meyers' films, it's a film to check out. If not, I don't think its worth your time.
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lukalele15 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Saturday night... movie night with the girlfriend. She wants to get a film I've never really heard of called It's Complicated, from the description all I see is that it's a romcom. I suggest some other films saying that I'm not really in the mood for another romcom, as there seems to be one released every week lately, they're all so formulaic and we seem to see them all.

Needless to say 5 minutes later we were sitting on the couch, settling in to watch It's Complicated.

Giving in once again does have certain advantages, as I warned her that my objections to seeing yet another romcom gave me license to pay it out, if it came to that. Unfortunately for this film, it did.

As much as I respect her as an actress, all that Meryl Streep touches doth not turn to gold, and as much as I like Alec Baldwin as a comedic actor from the likes of 30 Rock, he cannot save this film. There is nothing to like about the characters, no development at all, they're all unconvincing, unrealistic, ultra-successful, perfect people with perfect lives. Even the situations they get themselves into are perfectly 'complicated' (damn that title), and you know it's all gonna come out perfectly in the end anyway. Don't expect any surprises here. I respect the filmmaker trying to present the romcom from a different angle (middle-age), but it quickly becomes as typical and predictable as the rest, especially with Streep's character behaving the way she does you're quickly forced to forget the different angle presented here that the film had going for it.

Baldwin's character is a terrible misogynist, but that's OK when you present his new trophy wife as a b*tch (played by Lake Bell, totally overshadowed by the better acting talent on offer here just as she was in Boston Legal) with a horrible movie-child, clashing terribly with the too-perfect grown up children Streep and Baldwin's characters had when they were first married.

Streep's character is the most insipid, self-indulgent, shallow character since Carrie Bradshaw. She's impossible to like. For 5 minutes at the start of the film we're presented with a few scenes making it blatantly obvious how alone she's become, 2 minutes after that problem solved, she's in bed with her punch-in-the-face persistent ex-husband Baldwin (leave aside any indication of why they got divorced in the first place, save for a few gratuitous hints that are meant to be quickly forgotten) after giggling like a schoolgirl at the nauseating crap he spouts to get her into bed, which of course leads to the 'complications' the film's title suggests when she meets Steve Martin, the 'perfect guy' you know she's going to end up with. Hard to feel any sympathy for her. I was waiting for her to ask one other character how they were, how their life was going, anything. None of that. She basically plays a 60 year old totally self-absorbed teenager, again giggling like a schoolgirl with her fleeting friends about the sex she's having with her ex in one painful scene.

Steve 'not funny any more' Martin might have been a guy who by the looks of him 15 or 20 years ago was going to age gracefully, but unfortunately he has not let that happen. His face looks like it could melt at any moment, not one wrinkle to be seen, for me taking away any credibility his character might have had. Don't let him near that baking oven, Meryl! We could have a scene akin to the classic facemelting one at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Actually, it might have been entertaining to see what would've happened to Steve's face had he gone too near a heat source.

Add to this a forced performance by John 'Jim' Kraszinski, I love him in The Office but here he ironically seems to be presented as a comic relief to all the 'serious' stuff that's going on, and also add to this a terribly contrived scene at a party where the oldies get 'soooo wasted' off one or two puffs of a joint, a scene which ends up falling totally flat and just gets annoying, and you have a film I really had trouble sitting through.

I hate films that give the viewer no credit whatsoever. We're just supposed to accept a lot of things when we watch certain comedies for the sake of a few laughs. This is certainly one of those. No laughs (for me anyway), bad dialogue, unrealistic characters that are impossible to like or relate to in any way, predictable plot, annoying children... doesn't get much worse than this.

Avoid at all costs.
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A good romantic comedy is a rarity...
jemps91811 February 2010
It's Complicated is simply enjoyable. A good romantic comedy is a rarity, so who better than rom-com specialist Nancy Meyers (The Holiday, Something's Gotta Give, What Women Want) to write and direct yet another? Jane (Meryl Streep) and Jake (Alec Baldwin) have been married for ten years and divorced for fifteen, but while attending their son's college graduation sparks fly between the old flames. But Jake's still married to the much younger Agness (Lake Bell), and Jane's architect and fellow divorceé Adam (Steve Martin) remains an interesting and sensible possibility. This puts everyone on a roller-coaster ride of what-ifs, which includes Jane and Jake's three grown kids.

It's a treat to see excellent actors delivering the laughs, especially when it looks like they're having a great time, too. In particular, John Krasinski (The Office) stands out in his supporting role as Harley, Jane and Jake's future son-in-law, who accidentally finds out about the affair before everyone else. Streep shines, as usual, while Baldwin eases into his newfound role of go-to comedy guy since his career-reviving 30 Rock success. The usually slapstick Martin surprisingly turns in a more toned down performance, which is a relief.

It's wonderful to see intelligent lead roles still being written for mature actors that doesn't exclude younger audiences. The story and characters have broad appeal; the dilemmas remain relevant regardless of age and so are the punch lines. It's Complicated is ironically comforting in its effortlessness.
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