Blu-Ray Review: Crowd-Pleasing ‘It’s Complicated’ With Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin

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CHICAGO – The crowd-pleasing comedy “It’s Complicated” is an excellent fit with Blu-ray in that we often have lower expectations when we’re sitting on our couch than when we’re paying the rising costs of seeing a film in the theaters. It may not be quite worth a purchase, but this star-powered semi-romance should definitely satisfy as a quality rental. Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

The most complicated thing about Nancy Meyers’ comedy may be that it’s not really a traditional romance. Sure, there are dates and even post-coitus humor, but this is not your typical meet-cute love story. Despite that, Meyers’ script is still a relatively cliched piece of work that’s elevated by some truly talented actors and the blast they clearly had shooting it.

It's Complicated will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 27th, 2010.
It’s Complicated will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 27th, 2010.
Photo credit: Universal Home Video

Jane Adler (Meryl Streep) is a restaurant owner caught in a bit of empty nest doldrums. Her youngest daughter is leaving home right around the same time that her son is graduating from college. She seems happy but lonely and sexually dissastified. Jane also crosses paths with her ex-husband Jake (Alex Baldwin) and his fertility-obsessed new wife (Lake Bell) far too often for her tastes, but it gets real interesting when Jane and Jake have a fling in NYC that turns into a full-blown affair.

It's Complicated will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 27th, 2010.
It’s Complicated will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 27th, 2010.
Photo credit: Universal Home Video

Of course, Jake struggles to leave his wife, so Jane refuses to stay committed to the still-married man and strikes up a sweet relationship with her architect Adam (Steve Martin). Should Jane stay with the sweet-but-somewhat-dull new guy or the passionate-but-troubled man who broke her heart more than once already? Or leave them both behind?

In typical Meyers’ fashion, everyone in “It’s Complicated” looks like they stepped out of a fashion magazine and their homes are more immaculate than anything you’d see on reality TV. They are upper-class, Hollywood creations without a single financial concern and when Jane says goodbye to her final off-to-school child and walks into her kitchen, where plates of cheese and croissants are waiting, her life seems anything but complicated. These are people with movie complications more than real, identifiable ones and the film would have been stronger if the characters were more relatable, but Nancy Meyers writes surface-level scripts that masquerade as something deeper.

Having said that, the surface level of this particular venture is made immensely enjoyable by the cast that dances on it. Streep displays a light, easy touch with a believable character, continuing to use a range that has made her arguably the best actress of all time. Some actresses have great dramatic abilities. Some have perfect comic timing. Streep has both.

On the other hand, Baldwin hasn’t had a part this juicy in years, bringing much of the Emmy award-winning charm he displays on “30 Rock” to the film and milking small moments for big laughs. He’s simply very funny, wisely playing Jake as more of a misguided schlub than the over-the-hill lothario into which a lot of actors would have turned this character. Martin also wisely doesn’t play Adam as too much of a dork, although I do wish he had a bit more personality. Krasinski has a blast as the son-in-law who figures out just how complicated the lives of his in-laws have become.

The film ultimately runs too long and I wish it took its characters a bit more seriously, especially in the final act, which drags a bit towards something of a predictable non-ending, but a review of “It’s Complicated” is actually better left simple: it’s funny.

The Blu-ray of “It’s Complicated” includes a feature commentary and a featurette called “The Making of It’s Complicated”. As for video and audio, it looks typical for new Universal theatrical, which means close to perfect.

‘It’s Complicated’ is released by Universal Home Video and stars Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, Lake Bell, and John Krasinski. It was written and directed by Nancy Meyers. The Blu-Ray and DVD will be released on April 27th, 2010. It is rated R. content director Brian Tallerico

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