The latest from director Nancy Meyers ("Something's Gotta Give") addresses the key issue I've always had with the filmmaker's projects: length. Paired down to a reasonable two hours, "It's Complicated" moves along breezily, with Meyers riding the wave generated by the terrific all-star cast she's once again been able to round up. The film isn't terribly complicated nor is it without flaw, but Meyers once again provides a solid, mostly quite entertaining romantic comedy.
The film follows Jane (Meryl Streep), a cook who has been divorced for years and has now reached the point where her three children have all left the house. With the kids off on their own, Jane is finally ready to take on the task she's been planning: building an addition to the house, the centerpiece of which will be the kitchen she's always wanted.
The kitchen she's planning out is bigger and more epic than her current kitchen, which looks like it could be the set of a Food Network show - not one of those Sunday morning Food Network shows, but a prime-time show - like if there was one where Bobby Flay tries to feign interest while participating in a cook-off against random people who claim they are better than him. Meyers continues to follow characters who are well-off or exceedingly well-off; it would be interesting to see Meyers chronicle the lives of mere mortals (or "morts", for short.)
All that said, while Jane looks to certainly be well-off in nearly every regard, she does face a choice when it comes to love. The architect she's hired for the job, Adam (Steve Martin) has begun to fall for her, but her ex-husband, Jake (Alec Baldwin) has - despite being with a younger woman (Lake Bell) - has also been trying to get back with Jane.
Adam is taking a leap after trying to get over a difficult divorce, while Jake has come to the realization that Jane was what he really wanted and he screwed it all up. Neither are perfect, but neither are presented as bad options for Jane, either - it's up to Jane to make the - you guessed it, complicated - choice as to who would be a better choice for her.
The movie does move along with a reasonably quick pace throughout much of the movie, although there is still a little bit of filler around the edges, such as Jane's friends, who don't end up serving all that much purpose. The characters of the children could also have been developed a bit more. The main supporting player that makes an impact is John Krasinski, who plays the fiance of one of Jane's daughters. The actor plays a similar character to the one he does on "The Office", but Krasinski manages to get some solid laughs and plays off the rest of the cast well.
The key leads are also terrific, and are a primary reason as to why the material works as well as it does. While Baldwin's career as a dramatic actor has drifted, "30 Rock" and "It's Complicated" show he's capable of being sharply funny. Martin, in a toned down role, is enjoyable in a sympathetic and subtle performance (refreshing after his performances in the "Pink Panther" movies, where he was anything but subtle.) Streep is Streep, and while she isn't required to really do heavy lifting in this role, it's still definitely another solid effort from the actress.
"It's Complicated" isn't a leap into the unknown for Meyers, but while the director generally takes from the familiar, she has refined her approach over the years and once again has been able to round up a terrific cast that offers engaging, enthusiastic performances.
VIDEO: "It's Complicated" is presented by Universal in 1.85:1 (1080p/AVC) and the results are quite nice. Sharpness and detail are above-average, as the film's rich, handsome cinematography by John Toll is reproduced with impressive clarity and warmth.
While a few slight instances of edge enhancement were spotted, no noise, print flaws or other concerns were seen. Some light grain was occasionally seen, but this seemed to be an intentional element of the cinematography. The film's color palette appeared delightfully well-saturated and pure on this Blu-Ray presentation, as well. Overall, while not without a few minor concerns, this was otherwise a very nice presentation.
SOUND: The film's DTS-HD 5.1 soundtrack provides a mildly entertaining experience, but things stay largely as one would expect. The surrounds do provide some mild ambience at times, but the audio is otherwise largely spread across the front soundstage. Audio quality is quite good, with a rich, bold score and clear, well-recorded dialogue. A simple - but satisfying - sound presentation.
EXTRAS: "Making of", trailers and commentary from director Nancy Meyers, cinematographer John Toll, editor Joseph Hutshing and producer Suzanne McNeill. The commentary is terrific, as Meyers and company provide an insightful, engaging and fun track. The group goes over working with the cast, production issues, filming on location, story issues and more. The title is also BD-Live enabled.
Final Thoughts: "It's Complicated" isn't a leap into the unknown for Meyers, but while the director generally takes from the familiar, she has refined her approach over the years and once again has been able to round up a terrific cast that offers engaging, enthusiastic performances. The Blu-Ray presentation offers above-average video quality, fine audio quality and a few extras. Recommended.
The Film B