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Friday, February 05, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW: It's Complicated

I am fascinated how much certain people loathed this movie, sight unseen. Back on Christmas Day, Ken Levine (cited recently in this blog for his sagacity re: Up in The Air) listed several well-known bad movies he'd see before he'd see It's Complicated, including HOWARD THE DUCK, CATWOMAN, and STAYING ALIVE. I've seen that same antipathy elsewhere. what is it about this Meryl Streep-Alec Baldwin rom-com that has engendered such vitriol without actually being viewed?

My wife for one was wary about seeing it because of the mixed reviews (57% positive on Rotten Tomatoes), but a couple weekends ago, we went to see it and enjoyed it. Now, I'm not saying it's high art or that it's not pretty lightweight; also, it was too long by about 15 minutes with one too many subplots. But our expectations were so dampened that it turned out to be more than a passable experience.

Streep and Baldwin had chemistry that made the fairly absurd scenario almost believable. The real surprise was John Krasinski as the fiance of one of the daughters of the Streep and Baldwin characters; he was not just another variation of Jim on the NBC sitcom The Office, which his characters in movies usually feel like. And the scene near the end with Baldwin, Streep and Steve Martin did make me laugh. Indeed, we chuckled throughout the movie,. though not constantly. There's also a poignant scene earlier with Streep that I could definitely relate to.

There were some problems. One, not the movie's fault but the trailer's, is that Streep's very best line in some dialogue with some friends appears in the trailer and so when actually delivered in the movie is not as funny as it might have been. Stoned adults are far less funny this century than last. The trophy wife of the Baldwin character (Lake Bell) seemed unnecessarily unsympathetic. And the three adult children of the Streep/Baldwin marriage were rather pathetic.

So, partly because I've had my own complicated relationships, I deem it one of your basic 2 1/2 out of 4 stars, B- movie. We both enjoyed it enough to recommend it, despite its flaws.



Demeur said...

I haven't seen anything lately that I'd go out of my way to see. From the previews that looked like you basic chick flick. Unless it had something great about it I'd pass. The only good one of that genre was "As good as it gets" with Jack Nickelson. An interesting study in character flaws.

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