Writer-Director Nancy Meyers Goes for Broad Comedy
Is there anything Meryl Streep can’t do?
The answer seems to be no.
Streep is in farcical broad comedy mode in “It’s Complicated,” written and directed by contemporary female comedy specialist, Nancy Meyers. Myers is far and away the most successful female writer-director-producer in Hollywood.
More to the point, Meyers knows how to make people laugh with her written word, an art she first proved with “Private Benjamin” in 1980
She also has a keen eye for casting just the right people. Who would have thought Meryl Streep would work so well with Alec Baldwin?
Streep and Baldwin are pitch perfect as a divorced couple who get back together for a fling, much to the shock and chagrin of all other family members,
Streep is Jane, a Santa Barbara caterer so successful she has hired Adam (Steve Martin), a high-end architect, to build an addition to her already large house.
Adam is recently divorced and insecure, but he takes a shine to Jane from the start.
Jane divorced Jake (Alec Baldwin) ten years ago after nearly 20 years of marriage. He had an affair and married Agness (Luke Bell), a hot younger babe. Jake is 50, flabby and not as potent as he once was. He’s been going to a fertility clinic at Agness’ insistence. because she would like to another child in addition to the young son she has.
You can tell the bloom is off the Rose for Jake, who realizes he still feels something for his fifty-something ex-wife. One night after too much to drink celebrating their son’s graduation, they fall into bed.
“You are an adulterer,” Jake gloats.
“I’m an awful person,” wails Jane, guilt-stricken already.
When Adam inevitably learns about the fling he is crushed and Jane feels guiltier than ever.
Jake and Jane’s grown children are understandably appalled at their parents’ irresponsible behavior, but this is a farce; an American French farce, if you will, and reactions are played for laughs by the same person who paired Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt in “What Women Want.” That 2000 movie was the most successful ever directed by a woman.
I don’t think “It’s complicated” will be that broadly popular. Parts of it are uncomfortable, particularly Alec Baldwin’s caution-to-the winds physical comedy.
Steve Martin is rather underused and his role so sketchy there is not a whole lot he can do with it.
But if sex farce tickles your funny bone, Streep and Baldwin are happy to oblige, with a little nudging from Nancy Meyers.