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.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.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.
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.
- Jan 2, 2010