Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

There was a moment in this film ‘It’s Complicated’ that made my blood run cold. Meryl Streep, as the character of Jane, is standing in a bedroom with a bathrobe on, uncomfortable with revealing her nude self to her ex-husband Adam played by Alec Baldwin. I’m praying to the Lord above that Meryl Streep hasn’t chose this point in time to give the world, what I believe, is her first nude scene. Please Lord… Nancy Meyers, the director of this movie, did somehow manage to convince Diane Keaton to get naked in her film ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ so it could happen, not that the ridiculously gifted Meryl Streep isn’t a very lovely woman at the age of sixty who has more than earned the right to get all naked in a movie if she so chose. But take into consideration that the first movie I saw Ms. Streep in was Kramer vs. Kramer and I might’ve been around ten years old at that time and Meryl kind of endeared herself as a motherly figure to me. Admittedly Joanna Kramer probably wasn’t best maternal role model in cinema, but here I am sitting in a theater, hoping to God that Nancy Meyer’s camera doesn’t catch this. Guess what? It didn’t happen. Nancy Meyers had something much more insidious in mind.

Anyway Jane and Jake have been divorced for ten years and at this point in time Jane is in the process of emptying her nest as the last of her three kids is heading off to college, while Jake is dealing with the complexities of his young hot wife Agness (Lake Bell) and her precocious five year old son. While attending their middle son’s graduation in New York, something kind of sparks between the long divorced couple leading to a torrid affair. While this is all is going on, Jane who is the proprietor of her own upscale Santa Barbara California Bakery, is in the process of building an expansion on her home. This introduces Jane to her architect Adam (Steve Martin) who himself is attempting to recover from a more recent divorce. The pair kind of hit it off but Jane is doing her ex-husband which, as the movie’s title states, complicates things. Further complicating the issue would be that Jake, the ex-husband, has discovered he’s never stopped loving his ex-wife and wants to come back home. What is a woman to do?

Before we get into actually talking about ‘It’s Complicated’ let me tell you what this insidious thing that the obviously inherently evil Nancy Meyers thrust upon an unsuspecting movie watching public. While Meryl Streep didn’t give us any skin… Alec Baldwin’s fat ass did. Recognize that we love Alec Baldwin here at the FCU and he’s been my main man since we used to watch him on ‘Knot’s Landing’, and that’s going way back… when he weighed a little less than the estimated 260 he’s clocking now. And in this movie filled with talented people, Alec Baldwin’s performance would be, at least in my opinion, the number one reason to see this movie. But damn… Alec Baldwin showing us some back side nudity and then… bending over. I didn’t need to see that. Nobody needed to see that.

But back to ‘It’s Complicated’. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this movie. Nancy Meyers has proven herself to be a fine director and given the cast she’s working with here with Streep, Baldwin and Martin this film probably even turned out better than expected. And I’m guessing expectations were high. Then toss in John Krasinski from ‘The Office’ playing Jane’s future son-in-law as the character who provides the emotional center for the movie and we have a rock solid Romantic Comedy on our hands. A Romantic Comedy that manages to be both romantic and funny. Sometimes really funny. And this is coming from someone who really doesn’t like Romantic Comedies and is nowhere near this film’s targeted demographic. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this movie… except…

This movie, probably more than any movie I’ve recently seen, exists in a reality that is so removed from any reality that I’m familiar with that Luke Skywalker blowing up Deathstar’s felt more real. This is a world were everybody is funny and cordial and beautiful and fit… except Alec Baldwin. Everybody in this world has great jobs and lovely homes and it’s a place where all service employees are polite and kind. In this world your children are also polite and well adjusted, but sensitive and introspective. It’s always sunny in this world and everything is green and vegetables ripen to perfection. This is a world where a woman finally empties her nest and then draws up plans to make her empty nest BIGGER. The ‘It’s Complicated’ world is the most awesome fantasy world ever, and unlike most movies where these things kind of just slip by, you actually begin to notice this.

There was a scene in this movie where Jane and Jake’s three adult children were so distraught by seeing their parents in a compromising position that they tearfully flee the house to the oldest sisters home and then jumped into bed together to console each other. All three of them. Now here’s what I’m saying by not being able to even remotely relate to this. I too am a child of divorce and there are three of us. So far so good. However at no time ever in the history of our lives would me, my brother and my sister EVER jump into a bed together and cry ourselves to consolation. At least I don’t think we would, and we are pretty damn close. I should ask them but I’m going to do that by phone because if were to suggest to my brother or my sister, face to face, that we console each in bed together I’d probably get punched in the face. That’s my reality. This could’ve just been more of the comedy aspect of this movie because that was pretty damn funny watching three grown folks in bed together hugging each other and crying. Hilarious. Even though I was the only one laughing.

But we do go to these movies for an escape and I can’t imagine a better place to escape to than this version of Santa Barbara California that this film ‘It’s Complicated’ resides in. Angels from Heaven go this place to unwind. Funny movie though, only marred by the unsightly vision of Alec Baldwin’s naked behind.

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