Sunday, January 10, 2010

It's Complicated ***

Director: Nancy Meyers
Cast: Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin
John Krasinski, Rita Wilson, Lake Bell, Zoe Kazan
Hunter Parrish, Caitlin Fitzgerald

Since Nancy Meyers insists on delivering films that take place exclusively in settings where women take baths while having wine and men wear navy blue sailing jackets as if they're impossible to live without, someone had to eventually come and shake her world a bit.
Not surprisingly this person is Meryl Streep, who in "It's Complicated" delivers what might be her sexiest screen performance just as she turns sixty.
She plays Jane, a divorced bakery owner who unexpectedly begins an affair with her ex-husband Jake (Baldwin) who's now married to a younger woman (Bell). They also hide from their children (played by Kazan, Parrish and Fitzgerald) who apparently are still getting over the decade old divorce.
"It's Complicated" is not complicated at all, Meyers inserts a new dilemma in the shape of Adam (Martin), Jane's sensitive architect who's into her and is obviously better than the guy who dumped her for a kid.
But Meyers fools herself into thinking that the turn of events in the film will be surprising as if she hadn't been recycling this same kind of story throughout her directing career.
What she has this time is Meryl, who makes this Martha Stewart world of passionate domesticity something completely her own.
When Jane insists she needs a bigger kitchen (when she has one that already looks like a studio apartment) we don't take it as upper class capriciousness but as the only thing this woman seems prepared to take on at the moment.
Streep gives Jane the right amounts of carelessness to make us believe she's just a drama queen, but watch as she turns this back on us by revealing a woman who only masks her insecurities through this joie de vivre.
Watching her with Baldwin is like watching her time traveling as she looks as beautiful and fresh as she did in, some parts of, "Sophie's Choice". Her animal side is evident when she takes on Jake with passion that overcomes guilt.
To see her actually choose lust over guilt just with a facial expression is the equivalent of Viagra to Jake.
In scenes with Adam she takes on another more earthy side that makes her glow. "I'm always surprised when I can count on someone" she confides in him and we know she means it.
Wherever the screenplay takes her, Streep turns it into a delicate portrayal of someone who might not be as mature as her age suggests instead of the slight beige and white nutcase some of her actions might steer her to.
"Turns out I'm a bit of a slut" she says completely surprised with this realization. In return she has kept surprising us all along as well.

No comments: