Meyer's heroin here is another matriarch of Hollywood, Meryl Streep (who's honing her comedic chops these days). Streep plays Jane Adler, a divorcee who finds herself in an affair with her ex-husband (Alec Baldwin), who left her ten years earlier for a younger woman. From there both fall naively into the land of the young: inappropriate pot smoking, mishaps with video chat, and responsibilities to their freshly adult children that prove, well, complicated. From the mind of writer/director Nancy Meyers comes 'It's Complicated,' another comedic glimpse at finding unexpected love during middle age years, in the mode of her 2003 hit 'Something's Gotta Give,' featuring Jack Nicholson and a nude Diane Keaton.
Meyers' heroin here is another matriarch of Hollywood, Meryl Streep (who's honing her comedic chops these days). Streep plays Jane Adler, a divorcee who finds herself in an affair with her ex-husband (Alec Baldwin), who left her 10 years earlier for a younger woman. From there both fall naively into the land of the young: inappropriate pot smoking, mishaps with video chat, and responsibilities to their freshly adult children that prove, well, complicated.
While critics seem split on this film, consensus seems to be that while the cast Meyers has assembled -- which includes Steve Martin as a sheepish architect, and 'The Office''s John Krasinski as Streep's son-in-law -- seems to be working on all cylinders, often approaching Grant/Hepburn-level slapstick, Meyers' cliched, often "offensive" script and direction ultimately leaves them out in the cold.
The Hollywood Reporter: "What Meyers has going for her in all the films she has directed from her scripts is her ability to evoke a fantasy world where grown men can cry and realize their mistakes while grown women love them for that. Cynicism -- real cynicism, not the catty, superficial kind espoused by this First Wives Club chorus -- is banished and true love still is a possibility."
Rolling Stone: "Meyers panders to another popular fem fantasy: conspicuous consumption. Streep's Jane Adler runs a successful bakery in chichi Santa Barbara, and her home, from kitchen to bathroom, is drooled over by John Toll's camera. Streep is asked to giggle often, often for no good reason."
Slate: "... When Streep and Baldwin are on-screen, it's delightfully so. As a couple with a long, checkered history and a shared gift for banter, they're as believable as Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant in 'The Philadelphia Story', or William Powell and Myrna Loy in the 'Thin Man' movies. Fine, the banter itself isn't always up to George Cukor level, but it's not dumb either, and these two actors, utterly relaxed and in the groove, make the modest laughs and insights seem like something more."
Time Out New York: "The writer-director's rickety portrait of middle-aged loneliness, regret and self-consciousness is propped up by Streep and Baldwin's natural love-hate chemistry and joint refusal to succumb to slapsticky ridiculousness. Nonetheless, a greater focus on off-the-wall humor would have benefited Martin, who's shamefully saddled with being the plot's perfunctory third wheel."
Salon: "It doesn't hurt that Streep is simply beautiful to look at. She and Baldwin are like movie-star versions of real people - prettier, most likely, than you and me, but still safely in the realm of the believable, with realistically imperfect skin and bodies that suggest an enjoyment of food or the experience of having borne children. Streep's timing is pinpoint perfect, even when the dialogue she's been given is offensive or stupid."
Chicago Sun-Times: "There's funny stuff here. We like everybody. We enjoy the way Harley (John Krasinski) finds himself in possession of much more information than he desires. At the same time, we're aware that the scene of a character sneaking up to peek through a window, losing his footing and crashing to the ground was not fresh when it was used so well in 'The Lady Eve' (1941)."
Get more 'It's Complicated' reviews at RottenTomatoes.com.