Sunday, January 3, 2010

IT'S COMPLICATED

Review: It's Complicated
3.5 stars (out of 5)
By R. Kurt Osenlund

I imagine writer/director Nancy Meyers is a fine hostess and an even better interior decorator. The meticulous production design of her films – including “What Women Want,” “Something's Gotta Give” and, now, “It's Complicated,” a bubbly, screwball romantic comedy about a 50-something restaurateur (Meryl Streep) who finds herself caught up in an affair with her ex-husband (Alec Baldwin) – often appears to have sprung from the pages of House Beautiful or the latest coffee table book by the Barefoot Contessa. The interior of Mel Gibson's workplace in “What Women Want” was a stunner of architectural eye candy; the white-washed Hamptons setting of “Something's Gotta Give” was gleamingly picturesque; and the indoor (and outdoor) Santa Barbara locales in “It's Complicated” practically beckon you to step in, take off your shoes, and have a look around.

Meyers opens her latest by scanning a sunny, unblemished stretch of Southern California shoreline before cutting to a swanky outdoor party, during which she sends luxuries like a tray full of golden champagne flutes gliding into the frame. Streep's character, Jane Adler, whose three children have moved out and whose ex, Jake, now lives with his much younger new wife, Agness (Lake Bell), is the lone inhabitant of a gorgeous, sprawling hilltop estate complete with lush gardens, a bench swing, immaculate d├ęcor and, soon, an elaborate kitchen addition. In case we didn't already know, Meyers reminds us of where her head is when one of Jane's friends affectionately observes that Jane has “Feng Shui-ed” her entire life.


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