Writer/Director Nancy Meyers, in another installment of “Mingling Wrinkles” (you’ll remember her first episode, Something’s Gotta Give, with Jack Nicolson and Diane Keaton); older people “get it on.”
Writer/Director Nancy Meyers, in another installment of “Mingling Wrinkles” (you’ll remember her first episode, Som ething’s Gotta Give, with Jack Nicolson and Diane Keaton); older people “get it on.”
I love a romantic comedy. I love a “bad” romantic comedy, Music and Lyrics. I love a “great” romantic comedy, Amélie. I do not love this confused mess of a romantic comedy. And yet, know that I will watch it again, alone in a hotel room, looking for solace on a winter’s night. Because I love what Nancy Meyers is almost doing.
First off, come on: Alec Baldwin? Meryl Streep? Steve Martin? (Steve Martin actually hasn’t entertained me since Bowfinger but I remember loving him). All in a romcom. I should be in heaven. Except that there is a tiny Hays Code inside my head that is never gonna like a light, funny movie about adultery.
But this time… this time I lived in hope that they’d somehow figure out a way to find the hilarity in people screwing around on one another. And… no.
Watching Alec Baldwin play a very charismatic jackass just made me think of my parents. (See my live comedy, buy my CDs, and find out that I can call my mother if I want to listen to someone who’s still in love with their philandering ex-husband).
I knew Meryl Streep should run for the hills but I wanted my imaginary parents back together. In my opinion, the theater was full of people thinking about anyone they knew who had been on either side of an affair. Maybe they weren’t. Maybe you weren’t. Maybe you were thinking, “Alec, put your shirt back on.”
I do know this: in order to make the movie Nancy Meyers genuinely wants to make, it has to be both deeper and funnier. Maybe it just needs deeper, since there are some great lines in this movie. Her depth got thwarted by scenes that were weirdly slapsticky next to the storyline. John Krasinski, Rita Wilson and the rest of Jane’s “friends” nailed their lines; it just seemed like the comedy danced on top of the topic. So the drama and comedy clashed rather than engaged. My my, I’m getting all reviewer-y. The movie that this wants to be has to be much … more than this one. And when she makes it, that movie is going to be incredible.
As always; I like to point out a movie’s “secret message.” The tiny socio-political agenda the writer/directors are trying to get us to realize. Sometimes right wing, more often left wing, (Footloose – censorship is bad, Dirty Dancing – keep abortion legal, Blue Crush – only through corporate sponsorship is true happiness found), the b-movie “message” buried in this light-hearted romp about infidelity is – a pile of money makes getting older look better. So start saving up kids; Eileen Fisher doesn’t buy itself.
A more general distraction is watching Meryl Streep do light comedy. All I can think about is that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indiana Jones shoots the guy with the sword. She’s so obviously overqualified. She has a howitzer as the others wander around with… lighter weapons, shall we say. Complicated wasn’t as bad as The Devil Wears Prada; specifically because of the casting choices, but she effortlessly becomes the character and everyone else is sweating to the oldies just to get into the game.
I felt, in this movie, that Meryl Streep put to use what she learned doing Prada: that she needs to dial down her obviously hard-earned but effortless-looking acting to even out the playing field when doing a romantic comedy. Prada, for me, was like watching two different movies (The weird 13 Going on 30 pl ot and a dramatic tale of a tortured successful woman in Project Runway, the movie).
But I’m willing to give Nancy Meyer and this cast another chance. Hell, another million chances. Nancy, if you want me to yuk it up about infidelity, try again. I get it. When you’re older – the story is going to be about old guys and young women and old women hating their bodies.
But I say this to Nancy Meyers, thank you for the effort, but it would be awesome if the next “Mingling Wrinkles” could be one I could get behind. Make half of Julie and Julia, just the Streep/Tucci half as a romcom. Hell, remake Adam’s Rib. At least all the awkward thoughts in my head during that film were about the actors’ personal lives, not the characters.