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REVIEW: It’s Complicated

A great cast creates a considerably disappointing movie

It's Complicated.
Courtesy photo

I would love to write a review for It’s Complicated, the way someone wrote a review in This is Spinal Tap. They had an album called Shark Sandwich and were perplexed by the fact that one critic did a two-word review that simply said “S**t sandwich.”

It’s Complicated. It’s crap.

(That doesn’t have the same ring to it)

I hate saying that, because there are obviously a few fun scenes. I just expect more from such a stellar cast.

I thought Meryl Streep could do no wrong. Even an overrated chick flick like Bridges of Madison County was watchable because of her presence.

Alec Baldwin played the same womanizing character that he did in the much better film from last year – Lymelife.

John Krasinski, so great in The Office, has yet to make a good film.

I know a few critics that said he was the best thing in this movie. I find that odd, as he played that comedy clichéd character of knowing the couple is having the affair, and trying hard not to let anyone else know what he knows. It got old quick, and no amount of cute facial expressions made up for that fact.

I overheard a couple in their 50s leaving the theatre. One said “It’s great that they can make a good adult comedy.” I wanted to grab them and scream “Just because adults are in it, doesn’t make it a good adult comedy!”

This movie reminds me a lot of Sex and the City. It was a great show, but an awful movie. That’s because you had interesting characters that didn’t do or say anything all that interesting or funny.

Now, let’s talk a little about the story. Meryl Streep runs a successful bakery. That means we get the scenes that were so great in Big Night (and out of place in Inglorious Basterds). That’s the scene that shows close-ups of delicious pastries being made and eaten.

She has a huge house, but she needs to make it huger (note to self: find out if “huger” is a word). I’m not sure why. Her kids are all going off to college.

Streep also has a few interesting girlfriends -- Rita Wilson, Mary Kay Place and Carrie Fisher. Yet all they do is sit around gossiping about her affair. They add nothing. I’m guessing in real life, if you put those women in a room (along with screenwriter/director Nancy Meyers), that would be a fun conversation to hear.

So, Streep starts to have an affair with her ex-husband. Now right there, you have a great premise for a film. You also have great chemistry with those characters. Yet, we get into this love triangle with Steve Martin, and it goes nowhere that’s interesting. In fact, you watch it not knowing who to root for, or even caring.

We’re forced to watch scenes of Baldwin peeping in the kitchen window while Streep' and her new suitorenjoy coffee. Predictably, he falls on his back into the bushes. Did the couple behind me think that was an “adult comedy” scene? I remember laughing at scenes like that as a kid watching Benny Hill and Revenge of the Nerds.

When Baldwin grabs Streep in a certain area while in bed, it was funny. It almost rivals the scene of Dustin Hoffman grabbing Mrs. Robinson their first time together. Instead of the awkwardness of a naïve young man, it’s the confidence of an older man who has “been there/done that.”

And that scene was one of the few funny moments the trailers didn’t give away.

I’m not sure why Meyers, who obviously has talent as a writer, made Streep's character so pathetic. She is the one actress in Hollywood that others are envious of because she gets the great roles. Yet here she’s playing a person jealous of the younger woman her husband married (after cheating on her); she seems sex-starved, she annoys her kids, she feels sorry for herself and is seeing a shrink.

I thought of the perfect way to describe this film. Since her baked goods play a supporting role in this, I can compare the movie to one of those fabulous desserts you see on the menu. It’s $14, and you think about a time you used to buy similar ice cream from the ice cream man as a kid for $1. You and your spouse share it, and quickly realize it’s not as good as the picture on the menu made it look. You also realize that after two bites, you’re getting full. You leave half of it in the bowl, feeling guilty at how stuffed you are and the calories you really didn’t need; and even more guilty when you see a homeless person outside the restaurant.

You could save the money on the dessert, and this movie. I thought it was one of the most disappointing films of the year.