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Betty Jo Tucker

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It's Complicated: Film Review
By Betty Jo Tucker
Last edited: Saturday, January 02, 2010
Posted: Saturday, January 02, 2010

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Betty Jo Tucker

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After being divorced from each other for ten years, Jane and Jake –- who have three grown children -- engage in a passionate affair. Is that immoral? Well, “It’s Complicated.” You see, Jake was unfaithful to Jane when they were married -– and he’s now hitched to Agness, the younger woman he cheated with back then. That makes Jane the current “other woman.” Is she still in love with Jake or acting out of sheer revenge? Making things even more complicated, Jane’s recently hired architect shows a romantic interest in her, one she begins to reciprocate. Will she end up with her former husband or with her new suitor? A soapy question, for sure. But, believe me, we do care.

In this amusing film written and directed by Nancy Meyers (What Women Want), Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin mine every possible comic nuance while portraying members of an unusual love triangle. Streep (Mamma Mia!) endows Jane with a good-natured but bewildered attitude about the surprising things happening to her. She’s a revelation to watch as Jane reacts to the continuous advances of her ex-husband. Playing Jake, the ex-hubby, Baldwin (The Last Shot and TV’s 30 Rock) becomes a force of nature as his character tries to win Jane back. We can’t help feeling sorry for Jake as soon as we see the problems he faces with his current spouse (Lake Bell). And Martin (The Pink Panther) -- usually a wild and crazy guy -- does a wonderful job underplaying Adam, the sensitive, lonely architect who falls for Jane. 


While infidelity is no laughing matter, It’s Complicated explores some of the funny, poignant situations that can develop between exes, especially when they have grown children who’ve gone through tough times as a result of their parents’ divorce. John Kazinsky’s (Leatherheads and TV’s The Office) appealing turn here as Jane’s future son-in-law illustrates how protective most people feel about siblings who’ve finally moved on from a traumatic experience.


With so much going for it, It’s Complicated could have been just as entertaining by omitting one exceptionally crude scene between Streep and Baldwin. It evoked loud gasps from the audience at the screening I attended, probably because it looks out of place for actors of their stature. (My inner church lady made me mention that.)  


SHAMELESS PLUG: I admit It’s Complicated hit home to my husband and me. After being estranged and divorced from each other for almost twenty years, we re-married, much to the surprise of our children. Like Nancy Meyers’ movie, our story is both humorous and highly emotional. Under the pseudonyms of Harry & Elizabeth Lawrence, we reveal all in It Had To Be Us, a little award-winning romantic memoir now in E-book format.    


(Released by Universal Pictures and rated “R” for some drug content and sexuality)


Review also posted at ReelTalk Movie Reviews.

Web Site ReelTalk Movie Reviews

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