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Streep, Baldwin and Martin shine in 'Complicated' comedy

Article Published: Dec. 30, 2009 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Streep, Baldwin and Martin shine in 'Complicated' comedy

Meryl Streep is delighted to find a stray Alec Baldwin in her bathroom in 'It's Complicated.'

I never thought I would see a film in which Meryl Streep, who has been nominated for 15 Oscars, was caught between Saturday Night Live favorites Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. When I first saw the preview for It's Complicated, I didn't wonder if Martin and Baldwin could work on Streep's dramatic level but whether or not she could work on their comedic level.

Turns out she can - most of the film's large cast also can - and It's Complicated could easily have been called It's Funny. This is a charming film of surprising intelligence, and even though it features many sitcom-style setups, the characters are rarely reduced to predicable sitcom reactions. It's "cute," one might say, but it's not too cute or overly sentimental - writer/director Nancy Meyers (Something's Gotta Give) finds the right balance of comedy and drama.

The film follows Jane (Streep), a chef who owns a restaurant and truly finds herself in a complicated situation after rekindling a romance with her ex-husband Jake (Alec Baldwin) at their son's college graduation some 10 years after Jake left her for the much younger Agness (the dreaded "trade in the 40-year-old for two 20-year-olds" routine). Jake's sick of Agness, however, and he pursues Jane with a vengeance - and she happens to meet the sweet, quiet Adam (an unnaturally subdued Martin), who she likes.

What's impressive is Meyers' ability to find the tiny human moments throughout the silly jokes and the frequently ridiculous ways in which these characters act (primarily Jake). Characters that would frequently get ignored in other films, like Agness or their three children, are also given moments to shine.

My only big complaint with the film is that, just like Gotta Give or What Women Want, the film is just a little too long. Some jokes run a little long, and several scenes could probably be shortened or entirely omitted. Even funny jokes can go on too long, and this would probably have been slightly funnier if it were 10 minutes shorter.

Still, It's Complicated is a good time. It's light and full of funny jokes and has been released at just the right time - after seeing Avatar and Up in the Air, both wonderful but very serious pictures, there's something enjoyable about a simple movie that's a lot of fun.

It's Complicated is rated R for some drug content and sexuality. It is currently playing at the Regal Cinema 7 in Boone.

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