Saturday, 23 January 2010

Meryl's not complicated!

I love Meryl Streep. Since I became a film fan, which was over a year ago now, she was one of the first actresses I noticed. And as I noticed her more, and saw more and more of her films, I realised how special she is, and that I share the opinion of many movie critics, actors and directors: she is the best living actress. I have never seen a film where she has failed to give a good performance, and whilst she has never starred in or even been featured in a "true classic" (think The Godfather, Fight Club, Some Like It Hot, type of films), she has always made great films with a proper premise and script, with few exceptions, and is almost always the best actor in the film.

So, I went to see It's Complicated. Recently Meryl seems to have been focusing on more commerical films than what she used to do - awesome dramas or quirky comedies, which were very often independent. Not that that's been much of a problem for me.

I detested Mamma Mia with a passion - surely even the adaptation of A Chorus Line from the 1980s is a better musical adaptation than this trash - but Meryl's performance was the one thing that made me finish the film. Then there was Doubt, pbviously not mainstream, but still a splendid performance opposite the wonderful Amy Adams. Then Meryl and Amy were once again together in Julie and Julia, which was a great adaptation of the novel, and saw Meryl shine as Julia Child, totally eclipsing poor Amy.

Nora Ephron directed Julie and Julia, a director and writer with a priven track record of raising average comedies, some being romantic, from the mediocre to the magnificent. She directed Sleepless in Seattle - what more can I say? So, when I found out in the February of last year that Meryl was due to team up with Nancy Meyers for a romantic comedy, I was excited.

Nancy Meyers directed the remake of The Parent Trap (1999) starring Lindsay Lohan. Whilst it was no patch on the original, it was a fresh take on the story and a lot better than the average films of thus type. Then came Something's Gotta Give (2003), starring Diane Keaton, who received an Oscar nomination for this role. Annoyingly, I got this film for my Mum for Christmas, and we still haven't had a chance to watch it, so I haven't yet seen it. For Keaton to garner an Oscar nomination, though, the film must have had to have been of a good quality, with the script and direction close to perfect. So, this was what first got me thinking about Meryl + Nancy = Oscar nomination number 16, and maybe, win number 3. I know now that Meryl will undoubtedly be nominated for Julie and Julia, what with the Globes and the Critics' Choice awards, and It's Complicated will go almost unnoticed, at least on the Meryl front.

Anyway, I went to see the film eight days ago, but haven't had a chance to come online before now. It was better than the average romantic comedy, which normally leave my mind numb and a horrible lingering thought about the future of Hollywood, if this is how far it's managed to deteriorate in the space of the decade. It was also refreshing to see a romantic comedy with the two leads above the age of, shall we say thirty!

It's Complicated was not as good as The Holiday, another Nancy Meyers film starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, purely because it was too long and the story was elongated beyond it's means. Having said that, the script was clever and the direction was good, especially Meyers' use of symbolism, a tool so underused by directors of today. The setting was also paticularly nice, but one does wonder why it took a schedule of over three months to film.

Meryl was good as Jane, but she used too many of her Meryl-isms. She was believable, yes, but to be honest it was a bit of a boring role, probably nothing like the Diane Keaton role in Something's Gotta Give. But considering the film has hit the $90million mark at the US Box Office it proves that, at the age of 60, Meryl still has impressive box office clout.

Alec Baldwin as Jake (stupid, similar sounding name to Jane) gave a good performance, but I am now aching to see his earlier work because these days it's like he plays Jack Donaghey in everything. I am a huge "30 Rock" fan, but wish that during the hiatus he would play different film roles instead of always playing the sex god, know it all, rich, end of middle age guy who all the women seem to love. Why? Eww! This, of course, does not effects his comic timing and delivery.

I love Steve Martin. He charmed me as the Dentist in Little Shop of Horrors and he continues to play the loveable, guy next door. His character was boring, but he did what he could and comes across as extremely likeable as always.

So, overall, the film was enjoyable, but nothing special, as keeps happening from Meryl these days. I wish we could return to 2002, where Meryl made two of the best films of her career and did two of her best performances in Adaptation and The Hours. Please!

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