Movie Review: It’s Complicated (2009)

February 24, 2010 in Movie Reviews

It’s Complicated is actually relatively simple: a woman, her ex-husband, and the new guy in her life.

It’s directed by Nancy Meyers (Something’s Gotta Give, The Holiday and What Women Want), so you have a fair idea of what to expect (don’t worry, I almost vomited too).  Mature, romantic, lightly comedic and more seriously dramatic than it should be.  Ultimately, a decent film but not a great one.

What makes It’s Complicated better than I expected is the excellent cast.  People are going to have their opinions on Meryl Streep, but I think the woman is capable of anything.  Seriously, she could probably play Neo better than Keanu in The Matrix, or the Wolf better than Jason Bateman in Teen Wolf Too.  She’s that good, and her performance as Jane is no exception.

Interestingly, Jane is also a fantastic cook.  Streep already played Julia Child in Julie & Julia, and now she gives us more food porn to make us hungry in It’s Complicated.  Not that I am complaining.  The delightful food is definitely more enticing than the old people sex that we have to put up with.  Though to Meyer’s (and Streep’s) credit, that aspect of the film was nowhere near as bad as I imagined it would be.

Alec Baldwin is also terrific as the ex-husband.  He surprised me, actually, because although Jake should be a hated character, Baldwin’s charm manages to make him endearing.  The best actor of the Baldwin brothers, for sure.

Steve Martin, on the other hand, looked…weird.  Is he getting botox injections or plugs or both?  I wouldn’t let someone that looks like that (with a creepy smile to boot) near my kids (in the event that I ever have any).  But apart from that, he was great.  A subtle, controlled performance as Adam, the other guy.

It was also good to see Hunter Parrish (Silas from Weeds) in there, even though he played the pansy son who didn’t really do anything.  Oh, and John Krasinski (from the American version of The Office) as Harley, the future son-in-law, provided the best laughs.

Speaking of laughs, there weren’t that many.  That’s my main gripe with It’s Complicated.  There were plenty of amusing lines, but few were laugh-out-loud funny.  In addition, most of the best jokes were already spoiled by the advertisements which I accidentally came across (at a time I didn’t think I’d end up seeing the film).  Don’t you hate it when that happens?

When all said and done, It’s Complicated was kind of enjoyable.  Interesting premise, amusing, and both lighthearted and serious, but nothing special.  I can see young people struggling with this one given how “adult” it is, but the oldies should love it.

3 stars out of 5

Movie Review: Julie & Julia (2009)

November 29, 2009 in Blogging, Movie Reviews

When I first saw the poster for Julie & Julia, I literally went ‘meh’.  A drama with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams as the two leads?  I enjoyed Doubt (which they starred in together in 2008) but this so didn’t look like my type of movie.

However, I later found out that the film was about food.  And that it was based on not one, but two intertwining true stories.  And most of all, the book upon which the film was based arose out of a blog!  That was when the aspiring writer inside convinced me I had to watch it.

I don’t like to spoil the plot, but in this case it helps to provide a bit of background.  Julia Child (Meryl Streep) is a famous American chef and author (pardon my ignorance), and Julie Powell (Amy Adams) is an average woman who attempts to cook every recipe in her cookbook in a year while chronicling her experiences in a blog.  The movie somehow manages to switch seamlessly between the two women – Julia in the 1950s as she learns to cook and piece together her cookbook, and Julie in 2002 she develops her blog project into a web sensation.

So how was it?

Written and directed by Nora Ephron (who last worked on Bewitched in 2005, but also did Sleepless in Seattle), Julie & Julia is very much a relationship drama that seeks to appeal to a predominantly female audience.  The main male characters, Julie and Julia’s husbands (played by Chris Messina and Stanley Tucci, respectively), are portrayed as virtual saints who are completely devoted to their wives.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it made me wish there was more tension in their lives than just burnt stews in the oven.

To be frank, it still wasn’t my type of movie.  The stories of the two women were somewhat interesting.  The food appeared to be absolutely divine.  The performances were superb (as you would expect from Streep and Adams).  Some bits were quite humorous.  And yet, it didn’t do a whole lot for me.  It’s not that it was bland.  It’s just that I wasn’t as absorbed as I thought I would be.  Maybe it’s just me.

On the other hand, the inspiring climb to success of both women was pretty cool.  There’s just something about watching other writers ‘make it’ that gets me all excited.

So to sum it all up, a good movie, but not really for me.

3 stars out of 5!

 
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