Finding a witty romantic comedy that isn’t drenched in clichés is like finding something in your size (that you would actually consider wearing) at a clothing sale – highly unlikely. Then again, few romcoms can boast the talents of one the greatest actors of our time, Meryl Streep, or the comic genius of prime-time television giant, Alec Baldwin (30 Rock). With It’s Complicated, writer-director Nancy Meyers manages to hit the funnybone yet again, following her success with The Holiday (2006) and Something’s Gotta Give (2003).
Jane Adler (Streep) has been divorced from Jake (Baldwin) for ten years, after he left her for a younger woman. Jane has moved on with her life – she’s finally renovating her house, she runs a very successful confectionary and she looks absolutely incredible for a woman her age (the exact number is never mentioned in the film but it’s safe to say she’s probably somewhere in her 50s). However, she laments the fact that she has no sex life or even the possibility of romance.
Then, at their son’s graduation, Jane and Jake have a little too much Pinot Noir and end up in bed together. Despite Jane’s initial reservations and feeble protests, the two embark on a delicious affair that sees them questioning whether their relationship could have a second chance. At the same time, Jane’s newfound spontaneity leads her to date her architect, Adam (Steve Martin).
While Streep is not new to comedy (she did win a Golden Globe for The Devil Wears Prada), we’ve never seen her let loose the way she does in It’s Complicated, and it is a feast. Funnyman Steve Martin hasn’t been, well, funny, in quite some time. But, after a string of feeble comedies over the past few years, he’s back and he makes good use of his all-too short time in the film to show that he can still elicit some laughs.
It’s Complicated is the Sex and the City for women over 50 – it explores ideas around women, sex and relationships in the later years of life. The plot is fabulously uncomplicated but Meyers treats the story with intelligence and a sense of fun. It’s pure, light-hearted, Saturday night, I-don’t-want-to-think-of-anything-serious-right-now entertainment.
Writer & Director: Nancy Meyers
Cast: Meryl Streep (Jane Adler), Alec Baldwin (Jake), Steve Martin (Adam)
Rating: 3½ out of 5
Golden Globe nominations:
Best motion picture – musical or comedy
Best actress in a musical or comedy
Best motion picture screenplay