After Christmas brunch, my mom and I went to the theater to see It's Complicated. It was written and directed by Nancy Meyers, who also wrote Something's Gotta Give. In Something's Gotta Give, the character portrayed by Diane Keaton had to choose between two suitors, one a young doctor played by Keanu Reeves, and the other an old goat played by Jack Nicholson. (Spoiler alert!) At the end of the film, in a romantic cafe in Paris, she chooses the old goat, and I, the viewer, gag on my Chardonnay.
Let there be no mistake about it: on the handsomest day of his life, Jack Nicholson still looked like roadkill run over by a garbage truck compared to Keanu on the stubbliest, most unwashed day of his life. Even if the physical attraction factor didn't come into play, the personality factor made this ending implausible as well as icky.
But I admire a woman who writes big-budget Hollywood films; I hope to be one some day. So I gave Nancy Meyers another chance.
In this one, Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin play Jane and Jake Adler, a ten-years-divorced couple. He has since married the younger woman who broke up their marriage, Agnes (Lake Bell). Still, they've become comfortable around on another again. When their son graduates from college, Jane and Jake hook up in a hotel bar, and after imbibing too much they sleep together. Though he is married, Jake finds himself falling in love with Jane again.
Jane feels all kinds of things. She's surprised at herself, elated at the chance to take a chance, guilty over what she's doing to Agnes...she even feels vengeful toward Agnes. At the same time, Jane develops a crush on the architect (Steve Martin) who's building an addition onto her house. He's only two years divorced, and scared of offering Jane his heart if she isn't available. Jane lets the affair with her ex continue, but only as long as she needs to explore her feelings. (Spoiler alert) In the end, she chooses to let Jake go and try her luck with the architect.
I didn't like this ending. I felt like the film was leading toward Jane and Jake getting back together, and just like Something's Gotta Give, the ending yanks the rug out from under my feet. Now, Steve Martin's character, Adam, is a great guy. He's not someone you wouldn't want to see Jane end up with...except that we want to see Jane end up with Jake! Jake is obviously still in love with her. Alec Baldwin portrays that very well. All we get for resolution, though, is a brief apology on a bench in front of Jane's house.
Strike two, Nancy Meyers. You don't know how to end a movie. You can't set us up to want one ending and then give us a different one. It's an unsatisfactory experience. My advice to Nancy Meyers: read a romance novel, then try again. You won't get me to watch it, though. Fool me twice, shame on me.