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Warning you about crappy movies since 2008.

Monday, December 28, 2009

It's Complicated

In writer/director Nancy Meyers' world, people are attractive and well-dressed. All the interiors -- homes, offices and bakeries -- are straight out of House Beautiful. Friends hoot and holler over good food and fine wine. Everyone has the means to live a life filled with high-end things, and the world is bathed in a soft, honey-colored light. It's a lovely place to visit. But, it doesn't come close to being a facsimile of real life.

But, that's what people seem to love about Meyers' movies. They're escapist fantasy for the upper crust. The Holiday and As Good as it Gets were unbearably bad, despite the gorgeous sets and wardrobes. It's Complicated is an improvement over the other two, but there was really nowhere to go but up.

Alec Baldwin is great fun to watch as Meryl Streep's lovable scoundrel of an ex-husband. He's remarried to a young hottie (played by Lake Bell) and has a rascally stepson, Pedro. He and the missus are also trying to get pregnant -- at her insistence.

Jane Adler (Streep) lives in a picture-perfect home, but she wants to add a new wing with a "real" kitchen. (The rest of us would be happy with her stainless steel double oven; high-end, oversized fridge and marble island that's always topped with a vase of fresh herbs and flowers.) Enter Steve Martin, an affable architect who's designing the new wing -- and vying with Mr. Adler for his ex-wife's affections.

Hijinks ensue.

The three Adler children are equally bland, and Jane's best friends (played by Mary Kay Place, Rita Wilson, a.k.a. Mrs. Tom Hanks and Alexandra Wentworth, a.k.a. Mrs. George Stephanopolous) are so same-y as to be interchangeable. Their scenes of wine drinking, secret-swapping and cackling are positively cloying.

If you're predisposed to like this sort of thing -- and plenty of people (mostly women ages 35 and up) are -- you will not be disappointed. It's a well-acted, inoffensive, lovely-to-look-at trifle that you'll likely forget as soon as you leave the theater. Just because I've got the holiday spirit, I'll give this one a very lukewarm recommendation. If you're planning to see it, anyway, then ... see it.

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