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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Nancy Meyers
Cast:
Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, John Krasinski, Lake Bell, Mary Kay Place, Rita Wilson
Writing Credits:
Nancy Meyers

Tagline:
First comes marriage. Then comes divorce. And then ...

Synopsis:
Two-time Academy Award® winner Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin star in this hilarious look at marriage, divorce and everything in between. Jane (Streep) has three grown kids, a thriving Santa Barbara bakery and an amicable relationship with her ex-husband, Jake (Baldwin). Now, a decade after their divorce, an innocent dinner between Jane and Jake turns into the unimaginable - an affair. Caught in the middle of their rekindled romance are Jake’s young wife and Adam (Martin), a recently divorced architect who starts to fall for Jane. Could love be sweeter the second time around? It’s ... complicated! From writer/director Nancy Meyers comes the comedy that critics call "laugh-out-loud funny" (Rex Reed, The New York Observer).

Box Office:
Budget
$85 million.
Opening Weekend
$22.100 million on 2887 screens.
Domestic Gross
$112.703 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 121 min.
Price: $36.98
Release Date: 4/27/2010

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director/Producer Nancy Meyers, Executive Producer Suzanne McNeill Farwell, Director of Photography John Toll and Editor Joseph Hutsching
• “The Making of It’s Complicated” Featurette


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


It's Complicated [Blu-Ray] (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 27, 2010)

While Hollywood usually believes that only youth-oriented flicks succeed, director Nancy Meyers proves the exception to that rule. Of Meyers’ five directorial efforts, three earned more than $100 million, and the two that fell far short of that goal – 2006’s The Holiday and 1998’s remake of The Parent Trap - featured main actors under 35. (Way under in the case of Trap’s pre-pubescent, pre-meltdown Lindsay Lohan.)

Of Meyers’ three other films, two featured leads in the 50-and-up cohort: 2003’s Something’s Gotta Give and 2009’s It’s Complicated. With a 44-year-old Mel Gibson and a 37-year-old Helen Hunt, 2000’s What Women Want was the biggest smash of the bunch, but the other two did quite well with their AARP-eligible actors.

In Complicated, we meet Jane Adler (Meryl Streep). Overall, her life seems to be good, as she runs a successful bakery, is close to her three grown kids, has plenty of friends, and even remains on positive terms with her ex-husband Jake (Alec Baldwin). However, middle age has hit Jane hard. She considers plastic surgery and feels lonely now that all the kids have flown the nest.

The family unites in New York for son Luke’s (Hunter Parrish) college graduation. Jane gets stuck with a dinner alone – until she spies Jake, going solo since his hot young wife Agness (Lake Bell) tends to her five-year-old son Pedro (Emjay Anthony). Lots of wine flows, hormones rage, and Jane and Jake reunite in the sack.

Jane regrets this, but it reignites old passions in Jake. He actively pursues his ex and attempts to get them back together – sort of. Jake doesn’t actively discuss leaving his shrewish wife, but he becomes totally obsessed with Jane. She resists the reunion but it brings her back to life, so she goes with the flow.

In the meantime, Jane gets to know Adam Schaeffer (Steve Martin), the architect who works on major additions to her home. She doesn’t sense it, but Adam clearly feels very attracted to Jane, and this creates a potential third side to the love triangle. Most of the film concentrates on Jane’s relationship with Jake, however, and her reaction to that reunion.

This is the part of the review where I say “clearly I’m not part of the film’s target demographic but…” (You knew I had a big “but”.) Yes, it’s very true that Meyers and company didn’t create Complicated for people like me. At 42, I’m perilously close to the film’s age demographic, but the presence of my “Y” chromosome leaves me out of the story’s focus.

Not that Complicated doesn’t attempt to placate a male audience. The inclusion of Martin and Baldwin feels like sop for the guys in the crowd, as their comedic credentials appear likely to give the film an appeal that spans beyond its obvious “chick flick” audience.

It doesn’t work. Oh, I’m sure the aging females who can identify with Jane and her adventures will find plenty of satisfaction in this film, though I’d like to think they’re smart enough to see through the flick’s obvious wish-fulfillment tendencies. Complicated teeters on being a remake of Something’s Gotta Give. Their stories differ in many ways, but both exist as Porn for the Menopausal, as they feature 50-something women being fought over by various suitors, one of whom gives up on young hotties to go for the middle-aged babe.

When I re-read my review of Give, I realized that I actually kind of enjoyed it. This surprised me, as I figured I’d regard it the same way I view Complicated: as a silly piece of fantasy for the Oprah set. I suppose I gave Give a positive rating partially because I expected nothing of it. I knew it wasn’t for me, and I wasn’t wild about the cast; I like Jack Nicholson well enough, but I can’t say Keanu Reeves does much for me, and I usually actively dislike Diane Keaton.

On the other hand, I think highly of the three Complicated leads, so even with my awareness that I’m not a menopausal female, I thought it had a lot of potential to amuse and entertain.

Alas, it almost never approaches that potential, and the performances leave me cold. Streep seems to think she’s in the sequel to Mamma Mia! as she struts and camps up her part, while Baldwin essentially remains stuck in Jack Donaghy mode. Martin gets relegated to a relentlessly dull role, so he rarely gets an attempt to shine in terms of his comedic potential.

The supporting characters prove to be especially annoying. Agness is made into the kind of soul-devouring bitch to allow the audience to support Jane’s adulterous ways, and Pedro provides the kind of annoying, precocious tot who only exists in movies. The three Adler children are all in their twenties but they act like pre-teens; they’re so childish that they become consistently irritating even though we’re supposed to like them.

Without good turns from the cast to elevate the film, Complicated collapses under the tedium of its own forgettable story. It barely features a plot, as it mostly just provides shots of Jane’s Fabulous Adventures. She’s a whiny, self-involved character who exists mostly in that wish-fulfillment mode; she allows women to live vicariously through her fantastic house, wonderful bakery, and all those guys who want her.

So we just follow her path toward ultimate satisfaction, whether with Adam or Jake. In truth, the resolution never seems in doubt; I won’t reveal with whom Jane ends up, but it always appears pretty obvious. This means that the journey itself needs to offer its own rewards, and it can’t. It’s Complicated isn’t; it’s a simplistic take on relationships without the heart or flair to carry it.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C+

It’s Complicated appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This wasn’t a killer transfer, but it seemed very good.

No real issues related to sharpness. A few wide shots seemed just a tad soft, but those popped up infrequently. Instead, the vast majority of the movie looked concise and accurate. Jagged edges and shimmering failed to appear, and edge haloes remained absent. Source flaws also caused no distractions.

Colors were fine. The movie went with a fairly natural palette that favored a mild golden tint. The hues looked full and rich. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows demonstrated good clarity. I expected a positive transfer and that’s what I got.

One shouldn’t expect sonic fireworks from a romantic comedy such as Complicated, and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack remained subdued. The mix featured good stereo music and decent environmental information but little more substantial than that. The surrounds played a minor role at best, so don’t expect much from them.

At least audio quality was good. Speech appeared natural and concise, with no problems on display. Music sounded vivid and full, and effects were perfectly acceptable. As noted, they rarely offered anything to make them stand out from the crowd, but they worked fine. I thought this was a pretty average track without any qualities that allowed it to impress.

Only two extras accompany the film. We find an audio commentary with writer/director/producer Nancy Meyers, executive producer Suzanne McNeill Farwell, director of photography John Toll and editor Joseph Hutsching. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of cast, characters and performances, editing and cinematography, sets and locations, music, and other general production areas.

Despite the presence of four participants, this is essentially a one-woman show, as Meyers heavily dominates. We get a smattering of notes from the others, but it’s almost all Nancy all the time.

And this isn’t a terrible thing, though I do occasionally wonder why the other three bothered to go to the studio. Meyers does provide a reasonably good look at her film, as she throws out a variety of fairly useful notes. The commentary never threatens to become terrifically involving, but it covers the movie in a positive manner.

The Making of It’s Complicated runs 20 minutes, 40 seconds and includes notes from Meyers, production designer Jon Hutman, and actors Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, John Krasinski, Zoë Kazan, Caitlin Fitzgerald, Hunter Parrish, and Lake Bell. The show looks at story and characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, and Meyers’ take on the material.

With 20 minutes at its disposal, I didn’t expect tremendous depth from “Making”, but I sure thought I’d get more than this. “Making” is so fluffy and insubstantial that I’m amazed it stuck to the disc. You’ll learn almost nothing about the production in this totally promotional piece.

With three talented stars as its leads, I thought It’s Complicated would’ve been at least partially entertaining. Unfortunately, the film suffers from thin characters and story, and those actors fail to elevate the material. The Blu-ray offers very good picture, decent audio, and a small set of supplements highlighted by a generally interesting commentary. We get an acceptable Blu-ray for a forgettable film.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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