It’s Complicated

By Mark Ramsey | 2009/12/21

Nancy Meyers makes sophisticated comedies for the kinds of adults who don’t go to sophisticated comedies any more. “It’s hard making a living off an audience able to leave its house only after it remembers the whereabouts of its keys and its teeth,” said Meyers. “And then only after the Spring thaw.”

With a cast featuring Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, and a variety of young actors used primarily as doilies on the coffee table of Nancy’s plastic-covered davenport, the most complicated part of It’s Complicated is how in the world it will ever make back its money.

It was nice of Alec Baldwin to pronounce his movie career “a failure” just prior to the release of this movie.  Normally, that’s my job.  But even I wait until the movie is actually out before making the call.

Remember when Stephen Baldwin looked like Alec, long before Alec looked like Stephen?  One of Hollywood’s one-time handsomest clans is now graced with love handles so substantial, you could hang on to them for dear life – if only being smirking distance from a Baldwin was worth it.

Once upon a time, Alec delivered a line instead of simply whispering it.  “I used to speak, now I strictly rumble,” he muttered, almost inaudibly.

And Steve Martin’s white hair keeps finding new and brighter shades of white.  “It’s the herbal Clorox shampoo,” he explained.

I’d like to tell you that none of these characters appears without his shirt off, but sadly, the sight of Alec Baldwin topless is enough to bring out the crosses, the wooden stakes, the wreaths of garlic, and this call from the peanut gallery: “The power of Christ compels you!”

So when Meryl needs a coffee-clatch, who does she turn to?  Why, Rita Wilson, of course.  Rita (a.k.a. Mrs. Tom Hanks) has been playing an F.O.O.S. (Friend Of Older Stars) for years.  “It’s good practice for the LA cocktail scene, where I have to pretend to befriend these people in real life,” said Rita.  “When your husband is Tom Hanks, the world is your pretend older friend.”

Alec Baldwin has a fertility problem, and Meryl Streep is discussing her bikini wax, when she’s not discussing her preferences related to semen.  There, have I told you enough for your mind to wrap imaginary yellow police tape around this movie yet?

This world of Nancy Meyers is a rarified place:  Meryl’s character lived in Paris in her 20′s, and now she’s designing an addition to her estate – the estate where she makes her lavender ice cream by hand (and no, I’m not kidding).  Meanwhile, Steve’s character went on a biking trip to Tuscany, and now he has tickets to take Meryl to the French film festival which, shockingly, is actually viewed as a good thing.  It’s just an average American family like you and me, folks.  No wonder the kids sing and go by the name “Von Trapp.”

“My digestion is finally back on track,” says Alec.  And thanks to It’s Complicated, that makes one of us.

With a soundtrack that suggests Herb Alpert, no tune fresher than Meryl’s oldest wrinkle, and stars that remind us of the forbidden love that might have sprung between Walter Matthau and Jessica Tandy, this could only be less pleasant if it included a scene where Alec dances around in his underwear.

Well, guess what?


I was trying to find the running time on this movie when I realized it rounds to “forever.”

You have entered the Twilight Zone where a family enthusiastically converges on movie night for an old Black & White flick on TCM – and actually enjoys it.

Bring out the bucket of popcorn!  I’m going to try to drown myself in it!

I’m going to walk into the light of Steve Martin’s white hair.

Help me, Ghost Whisperer, help me.


10 Responses to “It’s Complicated”

  1. Shirl says:

    Quite frankly, just the thought of Alec Baldwin in any romantic comedy makes me feel like I just ate last week’s leftover fish from the fridge.

    Loved your review!


    Mark Ramsey Reply:

    That smells better than this, believe me. Thanks Shirl.


  2. salma says:

    terrible review, you must be hating yourself for critically(I doubt you have the ability though) going so harsh against this harmless romantic comedy basically not stating itself as an instant classic whatsoever. I bet you expected that, moron.


    Mark Ramsey Reply:

    You’re right! I must hate myself! Especially for muddling through your awkwardly phrased post!

    Right now, the good news is that I’m stating myself as an instant classic whatsoever.


  3. Jeff Brown says:

    The only thing I enjoy more than your reviews are your responses in the comments section.


    Mark Ramsey Reply:

    I guess my efforts are directed to the wrong place – like the makers of “It’s Complicated.”


  4. Leon says:

    Mark -

    You mean to tell me Nancy Meyers made a bloated movie? About mature upper-class socialites and their fey problems? And I’m to understand there are lavish, nuevo-riche setpieces? And awkward old person physical comedy?

    Sir, I’d appreciate you not lying to me again.


    Mark Ramsey Reply:

    I know. If William Powell and Myrna Loy were alive today they’d be Nancy Meyers contract players.


  5. [...] court jesters over at Movie Juice eviscerate “It’s [...]

  6. Emily says:

    Ahahahaha…again, hilarious. I’ve found my new favorite movie reviewer!


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