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With Jim Sabatini

It's Complicated

It's Complicated
Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin

Rated: R sexuality and some drug content
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: December 25, 2009 Released by: Universal Studios, Inc.

Nancy Meyers' latest comedy "about love, divorce and everything in between" again attempts to breathe life in middle-age like her somewhat sharper Something's Gotta Give.

It's Complicated stars Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, and the writer/director seems to know what amuses and satisfies women (especially over 50) in this often flaky and frisky foray.

It just happens that Streep's Jane Adler (mother of three grown children), divorced around a decade from Baldwin's burly attorney Jake, makes many customers mouths water from her successful restaurant/bakery establishment in Santa Barbara. Jane could be Streep's Julia Child (see the tastier Julie & Julia) sent by a time machine into the present with a bit of a sexy twinkle in her eye and a woman meant to be loved.

But, life with Jake wasn't very happy as both were caught up in their professions and their kids never saw them together very often. However, when Jane and Jake arrive in the Big Apple for their son's college graduation they begin to rekindle a fondness for one another missing for a long time. An affair ensues, as Jane, of all things, is the other woman with Jake remarried to the much younger Agnes (Lake Bell of Pride and Glory and Over Her Dead Body).

Martin, at first, seems like more of a lesser character as Jane's divorced architect Adam, hired to remodel her kitchen. But, the serious, considerate man who hasn't really dated in 27 years earns more than Jane's admiration for his work.

When Meyers is at her best here, a goofy love triangle is formed as Jake's newfound affection for his ex makes him realize why he is so eager to drift from Agnes and her alert, eavesdropping son. It catches into the dichtomy of moving on with one's life from the healing of a breakup or what love could be the second time around.

Streep, of course, is the reigning classy professional of her time, and gives Jane a lust for life that has been missing for sometime. Baldwin has more of a physical part than expected with audience responsive scenes in a fertility clinic and especially on Jane's bed with a laptop. Jake's more than a little envious of what be cooking with Jane and Adam, and some risible moments follow his tattered emotional and pent-up condition.

Like the aforementioned Something's Gotta Give, this well-manicured picture with choice scenes in a hotel and at a graduation party gets high on the implications from its title. It also has a tendency to run on and the latter drama seems more tacked on than having the desired continuity of its often well-scripted center sections.

Still, if It's Complicated really isn't much so, the leads complement each other well enough and some tender moments work, especially with Streep and Martin, whether on a couple of ladders or in the kitchen. And, mention must be made to John Krasinski of "The Office" on the small-screen and rather good in the road picture Away We Go. His comic timing around the unimaginable things the seemingly innocent Jane is doing as future son-in-law Harley (watch him in polka-dot pjs or in a crowded bathroom) helps make this comedy almost as succulent as a chocolate croissant.

  Frank Chris Jim Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
It's Complicated  B-   B-   B-         C   B   B   B- 

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