Saturday, January 9, 2010


I watched IT'S COMPLICATED again with a friend yesterday. Liked it even more.

I've read critics and have other friends who either think this is a fun but lightweight movie or object to aspects of it. Like the lead character's (played by Meryl Streep) material success, her thriving business and great home etc.

I'm always pointing out and objecting to the false environments most movies are set in, i.e. young people in New York lofts and apartments that only CEOs could afford, etc. But Streep's character owns a business that is making money, a bakery/eatery in an upscale looking town (Santa Barbara), and the fact is many, if not most, successful small businesses are started and run by female entrepreneurs.

And besides, it's a romantic comedy very much in the style of the old Hollywood classic so-called "women's movies" (except for more explicit language and some nudity etc.). Yes, in its way it's a middle-age female fantasy, but if we dig a little beneath that obvious and facile observation it can be said that the story addresses some very real issues about relationships for those who aren't so young anymore.

The dialogue is snappy and witty (there were only two scenes I would have rewritten, and they were small almost extraneous scenes just setting up some plot points), the acting so charming and unselfconsciously brave (especially from Alec Baldwin who has become one of our greatest comic actors for my taste, and yes as I've disclosed before we've known each other for decades now but there's plenty of actors and artists etc. whose work I criticize who I know as well, like I was leaning toward criticizing Steve Martin in this flick, but on second viewing I appreciate what he does here even more) and the directing (by Nancy Meyers), obviously, is what makes the whole thing work.

Just as the classic romantic comedies of the the '30s and '40s bent the truth to give a nation some relief from the tribulations of The Great Depression and World War Two (obviously if anyone drank the way William Powell and Myrna Loy did in THE THIN MAN series, they'd be needing an intervention—is it a coincidence that Alcoholics Anonymous was founded the year the first THIN MAN movie came out?), IT'S COMPLICATED seems to me to do the same for at least me if not "the nation"—provide some relief from The Great Recession and the aftermath of the Bush-Cheney era's dismantling of so much that was so good about this country (and the world for that matter).

It does that with lots of laughs and a satisfying story that deals with some pretty basic human realities, some of which I haven't seen addressed much, if at all, in movies before—and that alone elevates this to much more than just fluff in my book (or blog in this case).

For my taste—and this might still be a result of the brain surgery and my lingering distaste for dark or dreary film stories—IT'S COMPLICATED deserves some pretty high honors for what it achieves.


alluhrey said...

hi there! i for one didn't think if it as "fantasy" just because it showed, unapologetically, the more affluent. besides owning a business, meryl streep's character was a divorced from her alex baldwin's character who is a lawyer. i would think she got a handsome settlement out of the divorce where the husband was at fault, especially under california laws.

wasn't it refreshing to watch the movie, especially amidst dark, snarky or sombre fares usually offered audiences?

Jamie Rose said...

I agree with you Lals. As usual.