Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin Can't Save It's Complicated

Once more into the breach goes writer/director Nancy Meyers to show us what women really want, this time with Meryl Streep as a Santa Barbara restaurateur "of a certain age" faced with a smattering of life-altering crises. In Meyers' most thinly veiled work of self-portraiture to date, Streep's Jane Adler has been sidelined by her philandering lawyer ex, Jake (a puffy Alec Baldwin, giving a ham performance and looking like one too), in favor of the 30-something Agness (Lake Bell), who, in the natural order of the Meyers universe, is a ball-busting gold-digger eager for Jake to sire her child. When Jake and Jane cross paths at their son's New York college graduation, it isn't long before they fall back into each other's arms—and into bed—while Meyers' shopworn comic tropes fall into place: Naked 50-somethings examine their flab and contemplate plastic surgery; naked 50-somethings feign horror at the sight of fellow naked 50-somethings; naked 50-somethings have heart failure during foreplay. Watching this garish fiasco, I found it mildly depressing to see Streep hurdling through a gauntlet of strained whimsy, her every toothy smile more affected than Sophie Zawistowski's Polish accent. That was before I realized that Jane's soft-spoken, silver-haired divorcé architect, Adam, was being played by none other than the live-wire Steve Martin, in what may be the most anesthetized, emasculated performance he has ever given. Then I was really depressed.

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