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‘It’s Complicated’ Satisfies With Twists and Fun

Jonathan Smalls, Film Critic

Nancy Meyers proves her worth again as a talented muse of the romantic comedy. Her work seems to originate with questions, which we all have asked at one point. She then develops them into rich, enjoyable, feature length stories. For What Women Want she asked, “What could happen, if a man could hear women’s thoughts?” Here the question is “What could happen, if the first wife became the other woman?” The story takes several interesting twists on the way to the ending, but to sum it up: it is complicated.

Meyers clearly needs very little help. Credited as the sole writer, director, and co-producer for this film, she can take much of the credit for its success. Meyers puts her characters into seemingly common, understandable situations, which turn into laugh out loud funny moments when combined with thesincere, timely, and hilarious dialogue. Although it seems innocuous enough, she makes a crowded theatre guffaw with a line as simple as “Thanks for the coffee.”

The shots are simple, and timed well. The scenes contain exactly what they need to as far as characters, dialogue, and ideas. There are some minor issues with continuity in the film. For instance a character is still able to fork food out of an empty, tupperware container, but when you are this involved in a film, you will hardly notice.

Meryl Streep turns in another flawless performance as the Jane Adler. She successfully portrays a vulnerable, confused, and well-meaning divorcee in the most unusual circumstances. What is more, she makes it look easy. Every action, which Jane Adler takes, every line, which she speaks, just feels more genuine, and raw than like acting.

The story may have been lost, however, without a strong counterpart to Meryl Streep. Alec Baldwin fulfills that role as Jake Adler. Although his character is much closer to one-dimensional than Jane Adler, he fleshes it out very well. His performance works well with the innuendo implicit with being a married man with a mistress.

Steve Martin is the weak link of the lead actors. He has a long history with comedies like the Pink Pather2, but his style of acting is more slap stick, over the top than what this film called for. His inexperience with this style of comedy could have served him well for communicating the awkwardness of his character, but it just comes off as an awkward performance.

John Krasinski continues his brand of dry humor from The Office, although he is able to draw much more raucous laughs in this story. The rest of the supporting characters can be ranked in credibility by age with one exception. The teenagers are not too great, the young wife is OK, and the circle of middle-aged friends around Jane is pretty fun to watch.

Despite minor issues, It’s Complicated is the type of film, which young, and old audiences can enjoy. It is slightly reminiscent of intricate, Shakespearean comedies like As YouLike It, but it is also modern, and much more accessible.

So sit back and enjoy a fun foray into a fictional world where the laughs abound and the happy ending feels certain; but what form it might take is not certain at all.

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