Wednesday, 13 January 2010

It’s Complicated

Nancy Meyers is not a perfect writer or director. She’s certainly no Jane Campion but her defence she’s no Nora Ephron either. I suppose she would fall somewhere in the middle. I remarked last year that I didn’t expect her latest comedy [of sorts] about the lives of the middle aged to trump her other comedy about the middle aged; and I believe I was correct.
It’s Complicated is not a film that suffers from bad writing, as much as it’s a film that suffers from too much writing. This is a story that despite all it claims to be is quite thin on plot, and after 100 minutes it becomes so indulgent that it doesn’t know when to excise the extraneous and the make it’s point as quick [and effective] as possible. There isn’t a scene that particularly rings false, but Nancy Meyers seems to have missed that particular screenwriting class that insisted on murdering your darling. Her dialogue is good, but at times it’s dialogue for the sake of dialogue and doesn’t readily lead to the denouement of the film. The therapy sessions adds nothing new to the fabric, neither does that brief and quickly forgotten mulling over plastic surgery, the conference call she shares with her friends are surely filled with some interesting one-liners but what exactly do they do that makes them necessary? And that weed scene? Don’t even get me started. It’s Complicated is the type of film that could have benefited from some crisp script modifications.

[Minor Spoilers]
I can’t help wishing that Streep’s Jane would have just stayed single in the end instead of reiterating that tired old stereotyping of needing a man – regardless of age. I’ll be honest – I’m no Streep lover myself; but she’s thoroughly luminous here. But, I fear it’s more a luminosity from Streep being Streep than Streep being Jane. She’s just not as unmannered a comedienne as that other old broad; but It’s Complicated works because of her; not in spite of her. She’s the most effective of the adults actually, although Alec Baldwin seemed heading for that prize in the first half – by the end his character seemed so eviscerated that there wasn’t much for him to do. Still, the adults are commendable. But the actor that comes out guns blazing [as far as I’m concerned] is Jon Krazinski. I found myself waiting for him to appear on screen. It’s not that he steamrolls the other actors. Everyone’s [save for Kazan who almost spoils The Adventures of Pippa Lee too] is on an even keel; but Krazinski’s subtle comedic abilities are a definite plus to Meyer’s comedy.
In the end though, I go easy on It’s Complicated. It mucks up some things along the way but when it comes down to the essentials it’s strangely on point. The relationship of the siblings particularly felt so authentic to me [just like me and my two older sisters and divorced parents] and though I’d have liked a more vociferous response from at the end when it came to the state of affairs with their parents, the affiliation was there, even if the dreadful Zoe Kazan was getting on my nerves. It’s Complicated is not going to be remembered as a quality addition to cinema, it’s a trifle in some ways. But it’s a pleasant one.
C+, that's almost a B- [although Streep and Krasinski are B+]

COMING SOON: Whip It, Three Blind Mice, The Road


Runs Like A Gay said...

I find myself agreeing with everything you said. Especially about Krasinski stealing the show.

Alex in Movieland said...

Andrew, we are like so NOT the target for this movie. :) even so, I can't wait to see it.

I remember Kris Tapley laughing at the scene where Meryl says her (gigantic)kitchen is too small and she'll finally get a decent one! :) it's ridiculous, but I love this type of rich snobbish

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

runs like... glad to see someone else is championing Krasinski.

alex i actually wanted to talk about the rich snobbery. i found it funny though, but every time she cooked i'd be thinking "that's a whole lot of of wasted food". in one scene she baked an ENTIRE turkey for a two person meal. still, adds to the comedy.

The Mad Hatter said...

I spent too much of this film wondering what might have in could this have been a good movie if they hadn't settled for using the weed as a plot device? Not offensive, but not as good as I'd hoped either.

Also, what was with the woman living in a gigantic house getting all giddy about some long awaited renovations? I mean cripes, that place was huge and they were acting like they were turning a shack into a palace!

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

mad hatter i know, right? her house was huuuuuuge. i was so confused as to why exactly the kitchen she was using was inadequate. you have to love the rich...or not :P

Nicholas Prigge said...

You, my friend, have been nominated for a Kreativ Blogger Award. Which apparently you already received four days ago. But too bad. You're getting another one. So congrats again. And don't feel as if you have to follow the whole set of rules a second time. I'm expunging you.

Also, I have not seen this film as I cannot bring myself to pay that much for a Nancy Meyers film.

Nigel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nigel said...

Funny, I just saw that last night.

I wasn't too fond of it-----It felt like a 2-part Prime Time TV Show; The first part (pilot), though mediocre, was promising and it was refreshing to see Streep confiding with her sexuality and inner youth...........The second part was such a bore; Alec Baldwin was a consistent distraction and those kids were miscast.
And btw, she under-used John Krasinski (think his work in the Office)........He's a prototype for intelligent, sacarstic wit and yet the lines he had in this were so empty.....But that's just me

joe burns said...

Sort of wanted to see this. Not really.