Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ticket Stubs: It's Complicated

Let’s get one thing out of the way: it’s not complicated. Right away the title is lying to you, which is a no-no. Benjamin Button certainly had a curious case, Richard Gere was an officer and a gentlemen and that is exactly where the wild things were. This isn’t that difficult. To the movie’s credit, it certainly thinks it’s complicated. Unfortunately it is completely alone in that belief.

Jane (Meryl Streep) has been divorced from Jake (Alec Baldwin) for about ten years now. He’s married to the younger woman he cheated with and things aren’t so great at home. At their son’s graduation they hook up and decide to start an affair. Meanwhile Jane is flirting with her architect Adam, played by Steve Martin. That’s it. To the sane eye, this seems rather simple and mundane, but in the eyes of the characters this is ZANY! Twice Jane talks to her one-dimensional friends where she repeats the entire plot. I actually pitied these non-characters. They all sound exactly the same and only existed to listen to Jane’s quasi-problems. They disappear midway through the movie. The only way I would be amused by those nauseating scenes would have been if Judy Greer had been cast as all three of the “friends.”

Often times the dialog is one of my favorite parts of a movie. Everyone can’t be Cary Grant or Rosalind Russell, but wouldn’t it be great? Dialog doesn’t have to be witty, but there is an art to progressing the story with words. Perhaps my ultimate pet peeve in film is what I call “looping dialog.” Instead of moving the plot forward, like a straight line, looping dialog unnecessarily backtracks and the line now looks like a loop-de-loop on a roller coaster. This movie has so much of this I felt motion sickness. It was like this was a single TV episode painfully stretched into two hours.

Now I do not want anybody out there to play the age or the gender card. My youth does not mean I cannot enjoy this film. In fact I would rather watch a romantic comedy with these three over three random airheads from my generation any day. How about my Y chromosome? Does that stop me from enjoying this movie? No. This movie’s poor quality transcends gender.

Every scene is uninspired and dull. The actors, at times, seem to be struggling to find anything to latch on too. When they aren’t sitting around talking about their dull and static emotions, they are just embarrassing themselves. Yes, the leads get high during their son’s graduation party. (I would talk about how I can’t think of a single college senior who would enjoy that party, but since I am a sophomore I obviously can’t relate.) The scene goes on, I believe, until the end of time. It could have been fresh and interesting, but it chose not to be. This happens throughout the entire film. There is a scene when Streep disrobes in front of Baldwin. It was reminiscent of the scene from Something’s Gotta Give. Turns out Nancy Meyers wrote and directed that one too. Come on!



  1. Austin, you know what this means, don't you? This means I have to see this thing!

  2. I'm pretty sure I just said that it's stupid and dull in a few hundred words. How was that encouragement?

  3. I meant I have to see it for the purposes of making fun of it.