Just about every Nancy Meyers movie involving a female lead of a certain age begins with Meyers saying to herself, “Wouldn’t it be wonderfully satisfying and exciting if…?” The romantic fantasy in It’s Complicated (Universal, 12.25) is that after a foxy older divorced woman (Meryl Streep) begins seeing an attractive new guy (Steve Martin) her re-married, somewhat girthy ex-husband (Alec Baldwin) gets the hots for her and starts cheating on his younger wife (Lake Bell) as they begin an extra-marital affair.
I don’t buy this any more than I bought the basic plot of Meyers’ Something’s Got To Give (Jack Nicholson‘s randy music executive falling for Diane Keaton‘s affluent screenwriter as she’s courted by Keanu Reeves‘ young physician). In real life a guy like Baldwin would cheat on his new 30- something wife with another young ‘un. The point is that Meyers’ films are always about comfort — i.e., about upper-middle-class affluence (i.e., shiny copper pots hanging in the kitchen), attractive lighting, bright chatter, and an attractive older female lead getting to express how strong and soulful she is in the third act.
I sometimes have a mildly good time at Meyers’ films. I know I’m going to enjoy Streep and Baldwin’s performance in this latest one — Streep especially. (The trailer suggests that Martin’s character has been made overly congenial and agreeable — i.e., no edge.) I just wish that the stories and characters that Meyers invents would be more palatable.
And I wonder how the idea of Baldwin-as-a-romantic-lead is going to go down. I love his manic wit but over the last 12 to 15 years Baldwin has been packing on the pounds and playing nothing but rascals and hyper madmen. He’s a great personality but there’s no peace in him, certainly not on-screen. Women of whatever age rarely see a guy of this type as a great catch. They might run around for a bit with a Baldwin-type guy, but when it comes to longterm scenarios they seem to prefer mild-mannered smileys who provide shelter and comfort — i.e., oak trees + a day at the beach.