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Film / It's Complicated

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It's Complicated is a 2009 Romantic Comedy film written and directed by Nancy Meyers, starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, and John Krasinski.

Jane Adler (Streep) is a mother of three who has been divorced from her husband Jake (Baldwin) for a couple of years. Reuniting at their youngest son's graduation, they're prompted to drunkenly sleep together and begin an affair. The only problem is that Jake has remarried, and Jane keeps catching the eye of an architect Adam Schaffer (Martin).

Tropes used:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • The second movie released in 2009 where Meryl Streep plays a woman in the cooking industry. The other is Julie & Julia.
    • Steve Martin played an architect in the movie Housesitter as well.

  • Author Appeal: Like a lot of Nancy Meyers films, this revolves around middle-aged people finding love.

  • Amicable Exes: Jane and Jake at the start. But it's played both for drama and for comedy, as they both wonder if there's still a spark there.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Jake is torn between his same age ex-wife Jane (Betty) and his vampy younger wife Agness (Veronica).
    • Jane herself alternates between Jake as her Veronica and Adam as her Betty.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Jake gives Jane a marijuana joint, and she decides to smoke it for the party.
  • Dance of Romance: At Luke's party, Agness spots Jane and Jake dancing together and puts two and two together.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Jane frequently forgets her appointments with Adam and blows him off a couple of times in order to meet with Jake. Adam remains nice throughout, although he does call her out on things towards the end.
  • Food Porn: Jane runs a successfully bakery, and there are plenty of shots of the food on display. She teaches Adam how to make croissants in one scene.
  • Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: The narrative treats Jane sympathetically, since Agness is framed as a Romantic False Lead for Jake, even though she's fully involved in the affair too. Her friends also cheer her on. Any blame for the affair goes to Jake.
  • Intimate Open Shirt: Jake is continually seen in this state throughout the affair.
  • May–December Romance: Jake is clearly in his fifties while he's married to the late-twenties Agness.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The light-hearted comedy vanishes abruptly when Agnes's son asks Jake to read him a story, and the entire affair is then given a Cerebus Retcon.
    • When the children discover the affair, all of them tearfully say they're still getting over the divorce.
  • Secret-Keeper: Harley inadvertently becomes one when he spots Jane and Jake in a hotel together.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Agness spells her name with a second S for some reason.