Itís Complicated

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: +1

Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin. Directed by Nancy Myers.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Streep is the ex-wife, Baldwin, the adulterous ex-husband now married to a young woman with a bratty kid, and Martin is Streepís first suitor in many a year. After ten years of separation, the ex-hubby wants back. They have an affair, but do they still fit as man and wife? And what of the good-guy suitor? The story is comic with moments of tenderness.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Mr. Baldwin creeps me out. Every time he attempts a look of remorse, the actor comes across more like a psychopathic escapee from a raunchy teen slasher movie. Still, he has perfect timing, and though the middle-aged spread is beginning to cause the handsome actor to resemble an encouraged vampire, he can handle a funny line as easily as his wild and crazy male costar. Ms. Streep is perfect. She never met a role she couldnít handle. Thereís depth, humor and enormous sensitivity in her characterization. And Mr. Martin, now domesticated by many a family film venture, having shed his wild and crazy persona in favor of three-dimensional characters, is as good as ever.

Though the humor is often bawdy (check out the content), it is handled so efficiently by these pros that you are seldom upset with the occasional vulgarity. Iím not saying thatís a good thing, just making the point that likeable actors and a trenchant script can make even debauchery look presentable.

Because it deals with relationships from a grownup perspective, and because it showcases romance between senior citizens, and because it is often very funny, I found Itís Complicated to be a real treat. Alas, there is a fly in the otherwise satisfying ointment.

Besides the wrongness of committing adultery and the excessive drinking, which doesnít seem to suggest the negative of such imbibing, the film also shows a rather cavalier handling of marijuana. At one point, the Baldwin character (he really is sleazy), gives his Ex a joint. Later she is seen smoking it with her new beau. They have such a good time, flying high, with no apparent down side that it has to present a message to audiences Ė the use of pot is a good thing and the forbidding law is a stupid one. Whether stupid or not, it is still against the law, and once again members of the liberal Hollywood community send the message, if you donít like a law, and you are unable to convince the rest of society to help change it, then just break it. Immigration ruling, illegal drugs, gay marriage Ė donít like the law, break it.

Now, I know some will say, ďCome on Phil, itís just a movie, lighten up.Ē Well, I laughed at the scenes. Both director and cast made their giddy reactions to the drugís effect seem funny, but also a little too inviting. I guess my negative reaction to what may seem harmless amusement stems from the fact that I have seen this nonchalant presentation of narcotics in several movies. If you preach something over and over, sooner or later it becomes acceptable.

It could be argued that this outlaw act by the makers of Itís Complicated is hypocritical, as the Hollywood community is very strident when it comes to laws it wishes to see enforced. Itís difficult to not see Streep, Baldwin and Martin as a part of the hypocrisy as they are gleefully aiding and abetting the crime.

Want to watch a film about two exes unhappy with their divorce, yet one without the objectionable material? Willing to watch a really old film? Can you handle a black & white movie? Okay, youíve been warned. Try The Awful Truth. This classic screwball comedy has Cary Grant and Irene Dunne as a divorced couple sabotaging each otherís new relationships. Grant reveals his expert touch with physical and verbal comic timing. Forget its age, itís a perfect comedy.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Universal Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several crude conversations and situations revolving around sexual matters; though playfully handled, they are indeed, crude.

Obscene Language: I only caught a couple of obscenities, the s-words.

Profanity: Other than four or five uses of the expression, ďOh my God,Ē I caught no misuse of Godís name.

Violence: None

Sex: Several sexual situations between an ex-husband and wife; he is committing adultery on his new wife; because they paint his present wife as somewhat of a shrew, the audience is meant to accept the adulterous affair.

Nudity: A bare male bottom, but mostly we are spared any complete view of a nude body; they maybe great actors, but most audiences would rather not look at nude oldsters.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Lots of drinking, the main characters get hammered more than once; a couple of scenes have the main characters smoking pot and enjoying it to the fullest.

Other: None

Running Time: 95 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and above

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