Movie Review Rewind: It’s Complicated (2009)

Brandon Vick flips the calendar back to 2009 for a look at Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin in It's Complicated.

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It’s Complicated is the newest film by writer/director Nancy Meyers (What Women Want, Something’s Gotta Give). Meyers has this ability to turn a rom-com into a movie that is heartfelt and emotional. Her movies, by the end, have a nice meaning to them whether it has to deal with love, relationships, or anything in between. This is not her best movie, but it is pretty good. And that is mainly due to the cast of the movie, specifically Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin.

Jane (Streep) has been divorced for a decade, and she is doing pretty good by herself. She owns a successful bakery, lives in a nice neighborhood, and has a fancy home. The only problem is she lives in it by herself. All of her kids are out of the house along with her ex-husband, Jake (Baldwin). Jane is lonely to say the least.

Jake had an affair with Agness (Lake Bell), a much younger woman, and they married. But life is not what Jake thought it would be. Agness is the boss and he does everything he is told. She has a son who wears Jake down physically and emotionally. And life seemed better and easier with Jane. For example, Jane’s delicious meals that Jake could not get enough of.

Jake and Jane go out-of-town for their son’s graduation, and after a few drinks at the hotel bar, the unthinkable happens. They have an affair. But this time it is different. Jane has become the other woman. And I guess this is where, indeed, it gets complicated. And while Jane wants to stop the affair with her ex-husband, she cannot. It gets hotter and more frequent. But then Jane’s architect, Adam (Steve Martin), is thrown in the mix.

So the movie becomes a war between all three characters. Jake wants to be with Jane. He realizes he does not know how to live without her. And Adam is someone new who has entered in to her life. A guy who is nice, sincere, and cares for her, but has no idea what he is getting involved in.

And Jane is torn between the two. Whatever problems her and Jake have had are over or forgiven. At the same time, it’s her ex-husband who has lied to her before and could do it again. And she leads Adam on even if she does not know it. This all sounds complicated, which I suppose is why the movie has that title. However, once you see the movie it is not. You see the direction the movie is going way before it gets near the end.

The reason this movie is better than average is because of Baldwin and Streep, and their chemistry. Martin is good, but his character is just kind of there. It feels like his character’s only purpose is to make things messy for Jane and Jake. But Streep is always good and she is having fun with this character. And it is nice to see her let loose and unwind. This was a great opportunity for her to do some more comedy, which is very rare.

And Baldwin is the heart of this movie. He is funny, charming, and knows what he did was wrong but he just can’t help himself. Jake is a guy that seems to get away with a lot, and now he finds himself stuck in a marriage that he thought would be more fun that what it really is. And now he is trying to make his move back in to his ex-wife’s heart and she is not falling for it again. Well, not at first anyways.

Baldwin brings most of the laughs to this movie. Streep laughs a lot and sometimes the movie just is not that funny. But make no mistake about it, when the movie is funny, Baldwin is in the scene. And with the laughs come the emotional struggles of the characters. It’s Complicated is mostly about Jane and her two lovers. But then you see how it has affected the children and what the divorce has not only done to Jake and Jane, but to their kids as well.

Meyers is able to bring her stories back to a level where no matter how much chaos has occurred, the characters are able to see through the smoke and come out with a clear mind. And eventually this happens in It’s Complicated, and the movie keeps itself from failing.

The movie is funny, but not that funny. It is entertaining, but could have been more entertaining. I guess the movie could use some improvements. Yet the performances by Baldwin and Streep improved the movie. Funny how that worked out.

Brandon Vick is a member of The Music City Film Critics’ Association, the resident film critic of the SoBros Network, and the star of The Vick’s Flicks Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @SirBrandonV and be sure to search #VicksFlicks for all of his latest movie reviews.

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