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17 February 2010
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It's Complicated (12A)

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Review byMatthew Turner06/01/2010

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 115 mins

Watchable, if overlong and underdeveloped romcom that just about survives Nancy Meyers' bloated direction thanks to strong comic performances from a perfectly cast Streep and Baldwin.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Nancy Meyers, It's Complicated stars Meryl Streep as Jane, a 50-something divorcee who becomes the other woman when she begins a passionate affair with Jake (Alec Baldwin), her ex-husband of ten years. With their children (Caitlin Fitzgerald, Hunter Parrish and Zoe Kazan) all grown up and moved out and Jake seemingly regretting his marriage to his younger second wife (Lake Bell), everything seems perfect, but there's a further complication in that Jane has just started a fling with her architect (Steve Martin) that seems like it might be going somewhere.

The Good
Meryl Streep is terrific, delivering a warm-hearted, infectiously happy performance that's a pleasure to watch. She's equally matched by a frequently funny, hugely likeable turn from Alec Baldwin (currently experiencing something of a popularity boost thanks to his role on 30 Rock) and, combined, they have a strong chemistry that works well.

There's also superb comic support from John Krasinski, who turns what could have been a thankless role as Streep's son-in-law into a scene-stealing masterclass, thanks to a combination of some sharp one-liners, a couple of amusing facial expressions and note-perfect comic timing. It also makes a refreshing change to see a relationship comedy about middle-aged people, even if it's not quite as satisfying as it ought to be.

The Bad
That said, the film is not without its problems: for one thing, it's one of those films where all the best gags (most notably the webcam scene) are in the trailer. There's also a painful lack of chemistry between Streep and Martin, which isn't helped by his distractingly weird-looking face – you'll spend all his scenes trying to work out if he's had plastic surgery.

On top of that, Meyers' flabby direction ensures that the film is overlong and stuffed with pointless, largely unfunny scenes that do nothing to advance the already very thin-on-the-ground plot. It also has a cop-out ending that's extremely disappointing.

Worth seeing?
This is mildly disappointing and not as emotionally engaging or as funny as it thinks it is, but it's ultimately worth seeing for the strong comic chemistry between Streep and Baldwin.

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It's Complicated (12A)
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