It's Complicated

 
(i)

 

Parents will dig this over-50 romcom, but kids won't.
  • Review Date: December 15, 2009
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 119 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Although there are positive messages about families of divorce (Jane and Jake's three kids are very close to them) and the empowerment of single women in their 50s, there's also the sense that adultery between exes isn't all that serious, since they were once married. That's a pretty iffy message, even though it's handled comically.

Positive role models

Jane is inspiring as a successful business owner who was able to start a new life after divorce. She's also a very caring and loving mother. Jake cares about his children, but he acts quite selfishly throughout the movie. The fact that the ex-spouses hook up isn't exactly top-notch role model behavior, but it's all played for romance and humor.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

Drunken (and subsequently sober) adultery between exes is the movie's central plot point. There's no nudity, but you do see one character in her bra and panties, Meryl Streep in a chemise, and a lot of Alec Baldwin's skin (a strategically placed laptop blocks any X-rated parts). One sight gag alludes to the fact that Baldwin's penis is directly within view of a webcam that Steve Martin is watching from his own computer. There's also a lot of discussion about sex, extramarital affairs, older women's sex drives (and anatomy), and fertility issues.

Language

Fairly mild for an R-rated movie. Words like "s--t," "holy s--t," "prick," "ass," "bitch," and "oh my God" are said on occasion but not frequently.

Consumerism

Several brands are featured, including Toyota Prius, Porsche, Jeep, Match.com, and Mac.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Lots of social drinking by adults (mostly wine and cocktails) at dinners and parties. Jane and Jake get completely sloshed before their first hook up; later, Jane smokes a marijuana joint with Adam. None of these scenes have any negative consequences, and indeed, the scenes show how inhibitions are lowered as a result of being intoxicated.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that his mature romantic comedy starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin is age-appropriate for older teens and up, though adults are most likely to appreciate it. Although the sexuality isn't graphic, the movie's main themes concern infidellity, sex for the over-50 set, and dealing with grown-up children -- none of which is meant for younger kids. There's some swearing ("s--t" is the strongest of it), a good bit of social drinking (the main characters have their first adulterous night together after getting completely sloshed), and a couple of humorous scenes in which a marijuana joint is shared by three adult characters. Teens could get the message from the movie that being intoxicated lowers inhibitions (which is true) and since no negative consequences are shown, parents should talk to their kids about it. And, as in every other Nancy Meyers movie, everyone lives a completely pampered, wealthy lifestyle, this time in Santa Barbara. We should all be so lucky.

What's the story?

For a divorcee in her late 50s, Jane Adler (Meryl Streep) lives a rather enviable life -- she owns a gourmet bakery and lives in an amazing house in Santa Barbara. Meanwhile, her ex-husband, Jake (Alec Baldwin), is a rich lawyer married to a much younger wife (Lake Bell) who wants a baby. When Jane and Jake meet up for their son's college graduation in New York, they have an alcohol-fueled one-night-stand. Jake then decides he wants to continue his affair with Jane, who finds herself in the improbable position of being "the other woman" to the woman who was once her husband's mistress. As Jane and Jake's affair continues, Jane slowly becomes attracted to her attentive, earnest architect Adam (Steve Martin), who's overseeing her home's extensive renovations. What's an attractive 50-something woman to do -- give her ex a second shot at commitment, or plunge into a new relationship with a sweet new beau?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Director Nancy Meyers is a seasoned pro at depicting a luxurious, upper-class world in which everyone has a kitchen larger than most studio apartments and a home that looks straight out of a magazine. Who better to inhabit this world than the world's greatest living actress and two gifted comic actors? It seems like the formula for success, and, for the most part, it works. Streep is adorable (as are her best friends, played by Rita Wilson, Mary Kay Place, and Alexandra Wentworth) as a woman so sex deprived that she briefly considers whether her friend is right about a woman's "parts" closing up from disuse. Baldwin is almost too perfectly cast as the cocky ex who'd rather bury himself in the arms of his lovely former bride than go home to his shrewish-but-buxom younger wife. And Martin is much mellower than you'd expect, except in a hilarious scene in which Adam and Jane are high on marijuana.

Unfortunately, Meyers doesn't really have much to say in IT'S COMPLICATED. There's nothing all that memorable, despite the stellar cast. Some of the best parts of the movie, in fact, are the Adlers' three grown kids (played by Zoe Kazan, Hunter Parrish, and Caitlin Fitzgerald), all of whom are genuinely believable as siblings who would curl up in bed together after finding out that their parents had slept together but weren't yet back together. John Krasinski is also a scene-stealer as the soon-to-be son-in-law who first discovers  Jake and Jane's dirty little secret. For a frothy romantic comedy starring actors over 60 (Baldwin is the youngest at 51), It's Complicated is like the chocolate croissants that feature prominently in the movie -- warm and sweet, but ultimately not that filling.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's message about how divorce affects children, even grown-up ones. What's the impact of Jane and Jake's affair?

  • The movie was rated R because of the pot-smoking scene. What conversation do you need to have with your teens about the effects of drinking and drugs on inhibitions?

  • This is one of the few movies that explores romance between adults in their 50s. How is Jane and Jake's "mature" romance different than romantic comedies starring younger actors?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 25, 2009
DVD release date:April 26, 2010
Cast:Alec Baldwin, Meryl Streep, Steve Martin
Director:Nancy Meyers
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Comedy
Run time:119 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:some drug content and sexuality

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Kid, 10 years old December 18, 2009
 
This is a great family movie everyone can watch with there kids. Don't let the commercial fool you because none of that actually happens this movie and it's really about the importance of sharing and kindness. You and your whole family should check out this movie.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bymoviemadness September 6, 2010
 

Great Movie!

It's Complicated is absolutely hilarious! The acting is phenomenal, and the messages are heartwarming too! Seeing Jane's transformation throughout the movie is wonderful, and the frank discussion of infidelity and love is refreshing and eye-opening. Perfect for older teens and adults.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old January 10, 2010
 

Kinda Corny....

This movie was kinda cheesy to me.... And boring.....
What other families should know
Too much sex

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