Friday, February 12, 2010

It's Complicated (Rhoades)

“It’s Complicated” Really Isn’t
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

As I look at my friends’ Facebook pages, I’m seeing more and more descriptions of Relationship Status designated as “It’s complicated.” Check out my friend Pam Grier’s Facebook page, for example. Or Heather Hunter’s.

I can’t help wondering, is this a commentary on modern middle-age dating?
You’ll find the answer in a new romantic comedy called (no surprise here) “It’s Complicated” – currently playing at the Tropic Cinema.

In it, Jake (Alec Baldwin) is divorced from Jane (Meryl Streep). But he still loves her. So what’s a guy to do? Try to woo her back, of course.

Problem is, another guy (Steve Martin) is vying for her affections too. And Jake now has a young wife (Lake Bell) who’s eager to have her first child. Jane herself is dealing with impending empty nest syndrome.

This contemporary commentary on today’s complicated relationships is pretty predictable. Dad wants mom back and will go to any wacky lengths to return to the family fold. Mom is hesitant, knowing her hubby for the jerk he is. The three kids are caught in the middle, having difficulty with the idea of their parents reuniting. And, yep, there are plenty of laughs thrown in for good measure.

Guess how it turns out?

Truth is, this formulaic plotline plays okay with today’s audiences, for it offers us an archetypal reassurance about the way the world works. Even if it’s an overly simplistic viewpoint when it comes to complex relationships. Truth is, we prefer the benign lie – no matter how naïve and unrealistic.

Baldwin, Streep and Martin are a great triangle of talent. You’ll love their sparring in this Grimm’s Fairytale for Grownups.

I used to watch Alec Baldwin and his brothers play baseball in East Hampton. Charity ballgames in the summer. He wasn’t a bad player.

Baldwin is enjoying resurgence thanks to his TV role on “30 Rock.” And he’s delighted to have another shot at movies with this new comedy written and directed by Nancy Myers.
“Nancy’s a wonderful writer,” Baldwin says in his gravelly voice. “I was a big fan of the films that she wrote like ‘Private Benjamin’ and ‘The Parent Trap,’ and she did ‘The Father of the Bride’ movies, obviously. But ‘What Women Want’ and ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ are two movies I really, really love. I thought that they were wonderful films. And her movies are relationship movies really – adult relationship movies, you should say.”

Baldwin oughta know. His acrimonious relationship with his ex-wife Kim Basinger and well-publicized harangue with his daughter prove that he understands “the trouble that adult people get themselves in with their relationships.”

“It’s Complicated” certainly delivers humorous insights into midlife relationships. Perhaps Nancy Myers is becoming the Nancy Friday of film. That’s not such a complicated concept, is it?
[from Solares Hill]

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