It's Complicated

2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

It’s bad enough that Nancy Meyer’s latest conventional romcom is blessed with a title so bluntly unimaginative as to seem facetious; the rub is that it’s not even a truthful assessment. Divorced baker Jane (Streep) embarks on an unexpected and ill-advised affair with her former husband, Jake (Baldwin). As this swaggering ex is now married to a hot young psycho (Bell) and Jane is also falling for her dorky architect (Martin), this amorous development supposedly turns circumstances knotty. Yet in Meyers’s milquetoast hands, the way the scenario plays out isn’t so much tricky as treacly, with sporadic bursts of sitcom goofiness.

The writer-director’s rickety portrait of middle-aged loneliness, regret and self-consciousness is propped up by Streep and Baldwin’s natural love-hate chemistry and joint refusal to succumb to slapsticky ridiculousness. Nonetheless, a greater focus on off-the-wall humor would have benefited Martin, who’s shamefully saddled with being the plot’s perfunctory third wheel. More mirth and less tear-streaked schmaltz might have alleviated the tale’s dramedy dawdling, as Meyers goes to such unnecessary lengths to craft allegedly complex protagonists that the comedy soon goes down like lead.—Nick Schager

Opens Fri 25.

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