Okay, I’m exaggerating a little. I probably still wouldn’t have enjoyed IT’S COMPLICATED even if it didn’t feature a naked Baldwin brother. In short, this is just not a movie for me, but I can see this film working gangbusters for a more mature crowd. The personal situations and moral quandaries that arise in the film might appeal more to parents, grandparents or even just females in general. It is a Nancy Meyers movie after all!
And like most of Meyers’ movies (THE HOLIDAY, SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE), every part of IT’S COMPLICATED is incredibly surface level. Things are driven home constantly with the subtlety of a brick. For example, Meryl Streep has to share an elevator with a happy couple and mope so that you understand she’s sad to be alone. There’s also a lot of cheap humor peppered throughout, from John Krasinski acting all wacky and flustered in a very “Office”-style situation to pot humor. There’s actually an extended scene where Streep and Steve Martin get high and have to act normal at a party in front of everyone. How fresh!
Thankfully Streep is a fantastic actress and has great chemistry with both suitors, though Martin is left with little to do. He gets a couple scenes to shine in his typical style, but for the most part it’s a quiet, thankless role. What bothered me more is the written relationship between Streep and Alec Baldwin. I found the film’s treatment of divorce pretty effed up. It attempts to play on every child’s dreams that their separated parents will magically get back together, but in a light and torturous way. I’m not a divorced parent so I can’t say if IT’S COMPLICATED touches realistically on their situation and feelings, but it’s supposed to be hilarious and wacky yet in the end I felt like nothing worthwhile was explored and the entire plot really just put a strain on everyone, especially Streep and Baldwin’s poor children.
Another thing the film suffers from is what I like to call Rich White People syndrome. It may be a silly thing to complain about, but every now and then we encounter a movie where we watch very well off people “suffer.” In IT’S COMPLICATED we deal with Streep’s fancy gourmet bakery, architects and house additions, plastic surgery, and ladies getting together to drink wine and talk about vaginoplasties. Granted there’s nothing wrong with centering a movie around the upper class, and I’m sure there’s an audience for it, but I find it hard as an average viewer to sympathize with them on anything more than a very surface level, one where you’re laughing at them and not with them. Except when Meryl Streep gets to say, “I enjoy a lot of semen.”
Making Of: More recapping of the plot with quick interview bits stuck in and the requisite patting on the back by the stars.
Extra Tidbit: Turns out Alec Baldwin used a body double for his nude scenes. Crisis averted.