merylfest: IT’S COMPLICATED (2009)
It’s yet again been a while since I’ve written an entry in my ongoing tribute to the great Meryl Streep, Merylfest, so I’d thought I’d take this opportunity to write up one of her three recent works in her banner 2009 year, It’s Complicated. What could’ve been a miss – seeing as though Nancy Meyers makes both Something’s Gotta Gives (woo-hoo!) and What Women Wants (bleh.) – ended up being a delightful romp and a great getaway for Streep amidst all of her prestige movies that she tends toward. And at least this particular break from the norm wasn’t quite as extremely opposite as the over-the-top ridiculousness that was Mamma Mia! Starring two very able, comedically speaking, co-stars in Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, Streep gets to stretch her comedy legs (something I’ve always rooted for, personally) and showcase her ability to create fantastic chemistry. As Jane, the wealthy bakery owner and divorcee who’s fallen into somewhat of a romantic rut, she looks more stunning than ever – no easy feat for a 60-year-old woman – as she woos her two co-stars, from drunken ex-sex with former spouse Baldwin to baked goods and getting baked with new potential beau Martin.
Thanks to an above-average romantic comedy script and a more than able cast, Meryl is able to pull off her “woman of a certain age” romantic lead role. Her goofy chemistry with ex-husband Jake (played by Baldwin) has to rank up there with her buyable on-screen relationship with Clint Eastwood in Bridges of Madison County. The two are somewhat of a match made in romantic comedy heaven. It’s hard to say much about Streep’s performance beyond her comfort in her own skin and her finesse with the male characters around her. She’s delivering a truly adult performance in an adult comedy. Which is probably the most refreshing thing about Meyers’ tendency toward older actors – these lovebirds aren’t immature lonelyhearts. They’re well-worn, authentic grown-ups.
Luckily Streep isn’t alone in excelling in this environment. Baldwin is great fun as the less-than-perfect paramour of the two, and you hate to find yourself somewhat rooting for him over the sweet-natured, more well-meaning Martin. And though Streep and Baldwin’s children are perhaps a little too blonde and beautiful across the board (why do rich people in movies always have to be good-looking?), their soon-to-be son-in-law (played by secret weapon John Krasinski) often steals the show when it comes to the laughs.
Meryl’s Performance: B+
The Film: B+