Saturday, December 26, 2009

It's Complicated

Pientä säätöä. US (c) 2009 Universal Studios. P: Scott Rudin, Nancy Meyers. D+SC: Nancy Meyers. DP: John Toll - colour - digital intermediate: Company 3. M: Heitor Pereira, Hans Zimmer. CAST: Meryl Streep (Jane), Steve Martin (Adam), Alec Baldwin (Jake), John Krasinski (Harley), Lake Bell (Agness). JANE'S BEST FRIENDS: Mary Kay Place (Joanne), Rita Wilson (Trisha), Alexandra Wentworth (Diane). THE CHILDREN: Hunter Parrish (Luke), Zoe Kazan (Gabby), Caitlin Fitzgerald (Lauren). Released by Finnkino with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Marko Hartama / Saliven Gustavson. Viewed at Tennispalatsi 3, Helsinki, 25 Dec 2009 (day of global premiere).

The mainstream big Christmas-release romantic comedy - rom com, chick flick - of the year. The Finnish title is successful.

The slick lawyer Jake (Alec Baldwin) left his wife, now a Santa Barbara luxury bakery keeper, Jane (Meryl Streep) and their three children ten years ago for a younger woman, Agness (Lake Bell). Now the children have grown up. On a graduation trip Jake and Jane meet again and start a secret affair, just as Jane has felt balanced after the terrible ordeal of the divorce. Jane refuses to become her ex's mistress, but Jake seems serious about the affair. But Jane is also courted by the lonely architect Adam (Steve Martin), who has designed her dream house extension complete with the perfect kitchen.

I read a sample of the mean reviews written about this funny and generous comedy. The big mystery for me, and a reason why I avoid press screenings, is why critics hate comedy.

Comedy is the most unrelenting genre, and It's Complicated has been made by masters of the difficult trade. Nancy Meyers makes comedies for grown-ups. In comedy, you need cliches, you need stereotypes, you need caricatures, and you need to bring original twists to them. Meryl Streep with her hot flashes, Alec Baldwin with his bulky figure, and Steve Martin with his melancholia are great. I like the open ending to this story.

John Krasinski seems to be one to watch. As I don't watch tv, I haven't seen him in The Office.

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