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It's Complicated


Stars: Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, John Krasinski, Lake Bell, Rita Wilson, Mary Kay Place, Zoe Kazan

Director: Nancy Meyers

Why are Hollywood romantic comedies these days so darned long? Individual scenes in this one are crafted with loving care, and Streep is sublime as always. But a runtime of two hours exposes the very real paucity of material and the fact that scissors should have been applied more judiciously here.

After Julie & Julia, Streep's up to her ears in cooking again, this time as a caterer and café owner whose ex-husband (Baldwin), now unhappily remarried, bounces back into her life after 10 years away - at the same time as a new beau arrives, in the form of the architect (Martin) drafting Meryl a dazzling new kitchen. Very drunk at their son's pre-graduation function, Streep and Baldwin end up in bed together and she finds herself somewhat reluctantly swept into an affair, even as Baldwin struggles to maintain his sperm count for a hormonal wife (Bell) - and the plot kicks on from there.

The billing order may give you an idea of whom Meryl ends up with.

It's glossy, affectionately observed sex comedy in the Doris Day tradition, with a few more risqué remarks and a scene where Streep and Martin smoke spliffs before going to a party. Baldwin's overweight puppy-dog appeal has a rather limited shelf life here, but Martin is gently charming, even if the old 'wild and crazy guy' only occasionally surfaces. All in all, it's over-easy entertainment.

Alan Frank

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Universal. Eastman Colour .
120 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 0.

Review date: 02 Jan 2010