“It’s complicated,” is probably the best way to sum up my relationship with the new romantic comedy of the same name. First, let me just say: I am one of the many loyal fans who would watch Meryl Streep act in a Jell-o commercial. Established favorites like Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin always make for quality entertainment. And despite the fact that John Krasinski is still using the same “Am I the only sane one here?” shtick, it works, so he’s another nice addition.
But the movie is not without flaws. Most glaring is Meryl Streep’s character, who lives the kind of upper-middle-class fantasy that we’ve all seen far too many times to still find charming. She has a perfect home (but she’s having it remodeled anyway), has three perfect children, owns a perfect little French bakery, and has a perfectly kept garden that would be preposterous for any working woman to maintain by herself. Oh, and she makes homemade lavender ice cream when she can’t sleep. Yeah.
But surely her life has problems? Well, if the fact that her cheating ex-husband sees the error of his ways and leaves his nubile wife to come begging for forgiveness — if that counts as problems, then yeah, I guess she has them. Don’t fret. She fumbles through to the happy ending anyway.
Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin play two sides of the male lead coin: Alec, the repentant cheater, hounding after his ex-wife for some “experienced” lovemaking; Steve, the freshly wounded cuckold, hoping for true love to mend his broken heart. It’s almost too good to be true! Wild, forbidden sex and a fragile man to nurture! My female heart is all a-flutter!
Ok, ok. It’s not all bad. Krasinski provides some pretty funny moments as the son-in-law and the only other family member who knows about the romance between the divorced parents. I predict that many audiences will get a kick out of the frank discussions of sex and the absurd webcam calamity. And I give writer-director Nancy Meyers credit for a fresh version of the tired romantic comedy — post-divorce romance is underrepresented in the genre. People around me in the theater were raving as the credits rolled, and you may, too. Just be sure to suspend your disbelief and leave it at home.