Pros: Funny and entertaining overall. Good cast. Krasinski.
Cons: Serious issues treated very lightly. Martin under used.
Every so often, a movie is made that is focused more on older characters. The newest movie to do this is It's Complicated.
Ten years ago, Jane and Jake got divorced after he had an affair with Agness. That relationship has complications, but Jake and Agness eventually get married while Jane remains single and focused on the bakery she runs. The family travels to New York City for Luke's graduation from college. Jane and Jake have dinner together, get a bit tipsy, and end up having sex. Jane is mortified at first while Jake is just enjoying the situation. Once back home in Santa Barbara, Jake convinces her to continue the affair even while she starts spending some time with Adam, the architect who is designing the addition to her house. Things get even more complicated when Harley, the man engaged to their oldest daughter Lauren, spots Jane and Jake together.
Some of the situations that are dealt with during It's Complicated are complicated, especially where the relationship between Jake and Jane is concerned. Even Jake's relationship with Agness is a bit complicated since they first got together while he was still married to Jane. At first I had thought that Jake had married Agness right after the divorce. It turns out that they were together for a little while, then Agness left him for another man and had a baby. Then she has another affair with Jake, leaves the father of her child, and finally marrys Jake. Even though there are complicated situations in the movie, not a lot truly happens. The plot is entertaining for the most part, though I think some things could have been handled a little differently.
It's Complicated is a romantic comedy that has older characters as the main characters instead of teenagers. It is nice to see older characters in this type of movie for a change. A lot of relationship stuff is going on during the movie, but I don't think some of it is that romantic. I just don't find affairs, especially when someone is married, that romantic. Jake really doesn't act romantic with Jane either. He is just trying to have as much sex with her as possible and he doesn't make any effort to do anything romantic. At one point he says he will woo her, but he doesn't. He is focused on his feelings and he isn't that concerned about the fact that Jane is really conflicted about what they are doing. Adam really likes Jane and he actually wants to spend time getting to know her. The little romance in the movie comes from a few things between the two of them, as do the only really sweet moments. There are several sexual discussions and situations without there being any actual sex scenes. It is very clear what Jake and Jane are up to even though it isn't shown. They do show off a little skin, and at least as far as Jake is concerned, I saw more than I really needed to. He is shirtless a few times and he even shows his bare behind at one point. The movie does deserve the R rating and isn't one for children to see.
I do think that It's Complicated works fairly well as a comedy overall. Most of the funniest moments were in the trailer. For a few of the scenes, one or two brief things were left out, but that enough was included in the trailer to make it clear what was going to happen once a certain scene began. I think the funniest moments involve Harley and how he discovers way more than he wants to about his future in-laws. It is just by chance that he sees Jake and Jane meeting, and his reaction and attempts to keep Lauren from discovering what is going on is hilarious. As the move progresses, he continues to have to try to keep what he knows to himself by quickly changing the subjects or just drinking a lot of wine. Some other very funny moments happen when Jane and Adam get high and then act goofy. There is drug use in the movie, though only in a few scenes, but it could be enough to offend or upset some viewers.
The main issue I have with It's Complicated is that adultery isn't treated seriously for the most part. Jane does have some regrets after the first time she and Jake have sex and she says it won't happen again. Then she is back in bed with him in no time. She says she has guilt, but it really isn't shown that much. She decides that she is having fun and even her friends encourage her to keep the affair. One reason given is because they hate Agness. I get that they don't like Agness because of everything that happened when Jake and Jane's marriage ended, but it just seems petty to encourage Jane to continue the affair because of that. They also say that he was Jane's first, like that erases the fact that he is now married. At one point Jane is so conflicted that she goes to her therapist for advice about the affair. The therapist just says how she is opening up more than she has in ages and that the affair seems to be good for her. He then tells her to explore it and have fun because it won't cause any harm. That just seemed way out of place to me and I find it hard to believe that a therapist - who knows the man in question is married - would say something like that. That seems to have been added in as a half hearted attempt to add in some conflict before giving Jane permission to indulge without worrying about the potential damage. That makes her doubts and guilt seem more superficial. It just bothers me that adultery is treated so lightly and there are pretty much no consequences for what happens.
Jane has a successful business and is planning to finally do the remodeling she has been wanting to do for years. She is happy her son is graduating college, though it is also making her a little sad, especially when he and his sisters won't out to dinner with her like she had planned. She doesn't plan to start an affair with anyone, let alone Jake, but she ultimately decides to enjoy herself. She is a likable character for the most part and I do think that Meryl Streep does well with the part.
Jake is a lawyer who talks about working a lot but seems to have a lot of spare time. He is really happy with the affair and wants to see Jane for sex as often as possible. He really doesn't seem to truly care about her and her feelings. He just wants sex and to enjoy himself. Jake mentions that he is having issues in his second marriage, but he doesn't do anything to deal with them. He seems to want to avoid them. He can be manipulative at times. I think Alec Baldwin does fine with the part, though I do think the character is a jerk. Jake's second wife Agness is around every so often without really being developed. She is considered horrible by other characters because she had an affair with Jake. The few times she is shown, she is harsh and demanding. I think that has been done to make people feel more sympathy for Jake. Lake Bell really didn't have much to do with the part. Agness has a son, Pedro, who is about five years old. He tends to act like a brat most of the time.
Jane and Jake have three children. Lauren is engaged to Harley and the two of them are living together. Luke just graduated from college but nothing about his intended career is mentioned and he seems to have moved back in with his mom. I only know that he is twenty-two because he mentioned being twelve when his parents split up ten years before. I have no idea how old Gabby is or anything else about her for that matter. She is just sort of there, acting rather immature. There is something a bit off about how all three of them act. Harley fits in with the family well and actually seems to be a lot more normal than the kids. He accidentally discovers what is going on with Jane and Jake and then tries to keep Lauren, Gabby and Luke from finding out. John Krasinski does really well with the part.
Adam is an architect who is designing the addition to Jane's house. Not a lot of the inside of her house is shown, though it already seems like a really nice house. When it is seen from the outside, it seems to be huge. Adam is kind and sensitive, listening to Jane about what she wants in her new rooms. He is also still getting over his own divorce from a few years before. I really like him and wish he had ended up with more to do. I think I would have enjoyed the movie more if there was more focus on Jane and Adam instead of all the nonsense between Jane and Jake. Steve Martin does a really good job with the part. Jane's friends, Trisha, Joanne, and Diane, turn up in two scenes when the women get together for an evening. The actresses are wasted in the parts since they just say a few lines about sex and encourage Jane in the affair. They are pointless characters who don't add anything.
Alec Baldwin - Jake
Lake Bell - Agness
Caitlin Fitzgerald - Lauren
Zoe Kazan - Gabby
John Krasinski - Harley
Steve Martin - Adam
Hunter Parrish - Luke
Mary Kay Place - Joanne
Meryl Streep - Jane
Alexandra Wentworth - Diane
Rita Wilson - Trisha
Nancy Meyers - Director
I didn't end up enjoying It's Complicated as much as I had hoped. I don't think the story was handled as well as it could have been and Jake really annoyed me at times. I don't hate the movie, but it isn't a favorite. I have had issues with some of Nancy Meyers's other movies too. Fans of the cast may find something to like about it.
I would have given this one three and a half stars if I had the option. I didn't feel like the movie deserved four stars, so I decided to go with three stars.
*This review was orignally posted after I saw the movie in the theater. It is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Steve Martin Movie Reviews
All of Me ~ Bringing Down the House ~ Bowfinger ~ Cheaper by the Dozen ~ Cheaper by the Dozen 2 ~ Dirty Rotten Scoundrels ~ Father of the Bride ~ Father of the Bride Part II ~ Housesitter ~ Looney Tunes: Back in Action ~ The Man With Two Brains ~ Mixed Nuts ~ The Muppet Movie ~ Novocaine ~ Parenthood ~ The Pink Panther ~ The Pink Panther 2 ~ Planes, Trains and Automobiles ~ Roxanne ~
Meryl Streep Movie Reviews
The Ant Bully ~ Death Becomes Her ~ The Devil Wears Prada ~ Julie & Julia ~ Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events ~ Mamma Mia! ~ Lions for Lambs ~ The Manchurian Candidate (2004) ~ Rendition ~