Wayback Wednesday: It’s Complicated (2009)

I would very much like to have sassy wine and pie nights at Meryl Streep’s house.

Have you guys ever seen The Holiday (2006)? Written and directed by Nancy Meyers, it’s not really an obscure movie but I feel like it’s an underrated gem of a rom-com that not enough people appreciate. Anyway, the first time I saw it I fell so in love with Meyer’s writing style, direction and of course, set design, that I set out to watch everything in her short filmography. The Parent Trap (1998) is a classic, The Intern (2015) is a mess, and I still haven’t seen What Women Want (2000) because Mel Gibson kind of taints it. Then there’s It’s Complicated (2009) which I absolutely adore. I don’t know if it’s the all-star cast or the gorgeous kitchens, but something always brings me back to this movie.

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Credit: imdb.com / Universal Pictures

It’s Complicated follows Jane and Jake Adler, an older divorced couple who after sleeping together at their son’s graduation, wind up dating again. Keeping their rekindled romance a secret from their children, Jane’s new boyfriend and Jake’s new wife, the pair explore their relationship and wonder if a couple can separate and reunite later in life.

Do you remember how in the days of channel surfing (God, I miss the 2000s) there was always that movie that seemed to be on EVERY weekend? And you always settled down and watched it even if it was already halfway finished? For me, that was It’s Complicated.  You could switch to Bravo, or W or Slice on any given day and BOOM, there was It’s Complicated. I think the reason it was on so much is because like most Nancy Meyers movies, it has an inexplicable sense of comfort and calm. It’s probably the tan colour palette that Meyers is famous for. That comfort is why I love Meyers’ movies. Her movies are the equivalent of taking a big bite of the sweetest apple pie.

As a surprise to no one, Meryl Streep is amazing. Granted, this is a more reserved role than the heavy dramas and sweeping musicals she’s used to, but she still brings just as much passion and talent. As Jane, Meryl delivers a fun and enthusiastic performance, relishing in the role she gets to play. A baker who lives child free in a gorgeous house (more on that later) and gets to laugh around with Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin? Sign me up! Like she always does, Streep gives this performance her all, ensuring that no matter what Jane is going through, you’re able to relate and / or feel for her. It’s obviously no shock that Streep is an incredible actress (hello, three Oscar wins?) but I’m always blown away when she’s able to take the simplest of lines or scenes and transform it into an incredible piece of acting. She plays Jane’s feelings of worry, guilt and humiliation perfectly, while also nailing the quirky and foolish comedy the role calls for. Oh my God, watching her play a mother stoned at her own son’s graduation party will never not be funny and she should have been nominated for her 387th Oscar for it.

Baldwin is fine as Jake, and serves his purpose as the trouble that comes to put a wrench in Jane’s life plans. As you watch, you don’t really want him to end up with Jane but you can definitely see the love that was once rampant in their relationship and how badly he wasn’t to reignite it. No, it’s Steve Martin as Jane’s architect and love interest Adam who really steals our hearts. Even though more time is spent on Jake, it’s Adam whose courtship with Jane is the relationship you want to be endgame. It’s his sparkling chemistry with Streep that really sells you on his character. I mean, come on: the way they make that croissant together is basically a religious experience. I would marry the first person who made fresh baked goods for me. Martin is so wonderfully dorky and charming, sweet and clueless, serving as a nice foil to Jake who seems to have everything figured out. I’m more than ready for Steve Martin to star in a fantastically-written, moving and utterly lovable dramedy that reminds the world of why they adore him.

Speaking of fantastic writing, I’m a big fan of Meyers’ writing style. She has this exceptional knack for making the story flow flawlessly and setting things up in a way that naturally make sense. Her writing is very theatrical, like the dialogue you’d find in a play and that’s the kind of writing I really love. I can’t quite put my finger on what aspect Meyers excels the most at. Multi-layered protagonists? Realistic romantic scenes? Emotional monologues that resonate with you? No matter what it is, I find Meyers’ writing to be remarkably enjoyable and I hope to one day craft a scene as well as she does.

I also hope to one day live in a house like own of her characters. I have a theory that Meyers has had an inside look at heaven. How else do you explain the breathtakingly beautiful and cozy-looking sets that are the true stars of all her movies? Everything is perfect and charming and quaint yet still somehow extravagant in Meyers-land. She creates the kinds of homes that you could just see yourself thriving in, creating in, relaxing in, and ultimately living your best life in. Look at this house and tell me you wouldn’t move in in a heartbeat. It’s like living in a Pottery Barn catalogue. Or one of the re-done homes on Queer Eye (2018 – present).

If I had to pick out one complaint about It’s Complicated, it’s that I’m certain that it doesn’t need to be two hours long. When you watch it you can clearly pick out the scenes that make you go, “oh, this could have been cut to shave at least 15 to 20 mins off the runtime.” I can’t even be too mad at the overly long runtime though because this movie is just so sweet and tender, that you almost don’t want it to end. Much like her living rooms, Meyers creates the type of idyllic, lovely world that you want to settle down and live in. I’m down to live in any world where John Krasinski is the eternal comedic relief of my life. Krasinski really shines in this and although he was already well-established on The Office (2005 – 2013) at the time, this was a sign of the star he was destined to become. Sidenote, I am so on board for Meyers to work her magic and write a rom-com for Krasinski and Emily Blunt. They have the range!

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Credit: imdb.com / Universal Pictures

This is going to sound a little creepy, but I actually think It’s Complicated is a movie that you should watch alone. I can’t quite explain it but this movie is just so tender and mild that I believe it’s better to let it pleasantly wash over you as you soak up all of it’s lovely qualities. Hey, make a night out of it and show yourself some self-love. Light a few candles, open a bottle of wine, grab a slice of cake and wrap yourself in a warm blanket. Trust me. It’s not that complicated.

Do you like It’s Complicated? Are you a fan of Nancy Meyers?

Let me know in the comments or on social media!

 

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