It's Complicated (12A)

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The Independent Culture

Nancy Meyers, who has made two of my least favourite movies of all time in What Women Want and The Holiday, adds to her charge-sheet with this egregiously stupid comedy of middle-aged romance.

Meryl Streep plays an affluent divorcee who runs a Santa Monica bakery and wants to build a new kitchen in her fabulous home, despite the fact that her three kids have all flown the nest and the kitchen she already has would not disgrace a cover of Homes & Interiors. A drunken fling with her ex-husband (Alec Baldwin, porky) turns into a full-blown affair, and prompts her to wonder if they didn't make a mistake splitting up 10 years ago.

This non-problem is spun out through a sequence of dismally unfunny set-pieces, some involving Streep's other suitor, an architect played by Steve Martin, whose face looks like it's been recently embalmed (along with his talent). You get the feeling that Meyers is holding up Streep's Martha Stewart-type sixtysomething as a sort of hen-flick heroine, though there's nothing especially notable about her beyond her astonishing wealth and her readiness to make chocolate croissants at the drop of a hat – maybe that's all Baldwin and Martin are secretly after.

As her romantic entanglement gets more "complicated", the movie considers the hurt feelings of her vaguely nauseating children, who react to their mother's rejuvenated sex life as if it were a personal insult to them. On it drags, simpering the while over the lavish accoutrements of upper-middle-class life as though they contained the key to all happiness – which, in Meyers's worldview, they probably do.

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