Monday, February 8, 2010

Meyers Uncomplicated

Several years ago, Nancy Meyers brought us the delightful “Something’s Gotta Give” in which Jack Nicholson, after a lifetime of chasing younger women, chases Diane Keaton. Younger than he is, certainly, but not by so much. In this delightful romantic comedy, we got to cry with Diane, to laugh with everybody, and totally accept that the wicked old Nicholson was courting the no-longer-a-spring chicken Keaton (mind you, if I looked like she does at her age, or at my age, or even a decade ago, I’d happily and unabashedly shed my clothing onscreen too). Meyers also asked us to keep our minds open to accept that the handsome, available, heterosexual young doctor also wants Keaton and not her daughter played by Amanda Peet. Now if you believe that, you’ll believe anything, including all aspects of Meyers’ newest offering, “It’s Complicated.”

Don’t get me wrong; I adored “Something’s Gotta Give” and “It’s Complicated.” Some films are made in hopes of making the audience think. Generally if the filmmakers want anyone to show up at the theatre, this request to think is made subliminally in between explosions, car chases, and tits-and-ass. Nancy Meyers’ films are not asking you to think at all; quite the contrary. Do not think about, ‘who could afford that house in that location by running a bakery,’ do not think about ‘how does she have time to create that lush garden,’ do not think at all. Just sit back, relax, and for the better part of two hours, laugh at the humanity before you.

Which I did.

Meryl Streep is delicious and devilishly funny as Jane Adler, 10 years divorced, finding her way on her own as she becomes an empty-nester. The onscreen rapport between Streep and Alec Baldwin as her ex is wise, witty, and wicked. Baldwin’s Jake, six years married to a much younger woman, is also a lawyer, so the sleaze aspect is to be expected. Any family with three children and parents no longer married to each other is complicated, and Jake’s new marriage is also complicated.

Jane wants to put an addition on her perfect house. I’d take it as is, thank you very much. This desire, however, provides the next complication: Her architect Adam, played by Steve Martin, has interpreted all of Jane’s e-mails on the subject. His perspicacity shows him to be the perfect match, having drawn the perfect plans. Adam, too, is divorced.

So here’s your threesome, again the … oh let’s just say 50-something successful beloved woman who finds herself wanted by two men, and wanting both for different reasons.

If you want to know who else was in this movie and were they good, just look up the list on imdb [], read those names, and you'll know who did a terrific job. Yes, everybody. I did particularly like John Krasinski as the almost son-in-law, Harley.

What matters here is that the characters are all funny, the actors all perform them very well, the timing is as quick as the wit. It was not only a pleasure laughing at this film myself, it was a pleasure sitting in a darkened auditorium where everyone was laughing throughout the film. Mind you, I doubt there was anyone under 40 there either, but that just means that only one person didn’t turn her cell phone off.

I’m not going to run through the plot – you know the plot if you’ve seen the television ads and the trailer. Don’t know the resolution from those? Good. I’m not going to tell you. All I want to say is, if you want to think, go see Kathryn Bigelow’s devastingly brilliant “The Hurt Locker.” If you want to laugh a lot with your fellow movie-goers, go see “It’s Complicated.”

Don’t analyze this. Just laugh.

~ Molly Matera, logging off the computer to play left-handed tennis on the Wii.

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