Stupid White People: “It’s Complicated”

Uh, no. Not that one.

There we go.

So, with Queta’s niece in the hospital for a brief illness, we went to the sister-in-law’s Thursday to take care of the niece’s new baby. (I’ll draw a flowchart later.) Their cable was out most of the day, so we searched the local Redbox for a movie or two to pass the time while the baby slept and farted. We came up with It’s Complicated and Extract. We never got to Extract since the cable came back on, and “House Hunters” was showing.

Hollywood can’t compete with idiots looking for housing.

But, we did watch It’s Complicated, and, boy howdy, I have big issues with this movie. Bigger than Alec Baldwin’s man-tits.

You're welcome, ladies!

The story, as it is: Jane (Meryl “The Widowmaker” Streep) is a pastry chef, I guess, with her own overpriced cafe in Santa Barbara, where the chocolate croissants are probably $8. She has been divorced for ten years from Jake (Alec “The Hirsute” Baldwin), who is now married to the woman he cheated on Jane with, Agness (Lake “The Hellmouth” Bell, admirably trying to portray someone who is hot). Jake and Agness live with her son, Pedro, who is a product of HER affair away from Jake. Oh, and Jane and Jake have three adult or almost-adult children of their own from their time together. And the oldest daughter is engaged to John Krasinski. I’d say it was John Krasinski’s character, but it’s just John Krasinski at the end of the day. At least he doesn’t look into the camera and arch his eyebrow in a snarky manner during the film.

Yeah, that.

So, after a decade of tolerating each other’s new lives – which include Jane not dating or having sex this whole time, revealed during one of the film’s interludes of her hanging out with her friends (Alexandra Wentworth, Rita Wilson, and Mary Kay Place), drinking wine and being very white and not poor – the two J’s meet in New York for their son’s college graduation (from State University). Jake is alone, since Agness is sick, or her son is sick, or who-the-fuck-cares, and he and Jane have about four liters of wine in the hotel bar, retire to their bedroom, and have lumpy old-person sex.

Still conscious? Good.

Jane is now racked with guilt, since, you know, she’s committing adultery, but Jake is cool with it, since, you know, he’s a monster. I’ll get back to his monsterism later. Jane tries to put some distance between the relationship, and when she gets back to South Central S.B., she meets her architect who is planning an addition to her house. He passes the bulk of the job to Adam (Steve Martin), his business partner. He is also divorced, and is a generally good guy. So, of course, he’s gonna get dicked around by Jane. First order of business: Jane forgets her appointment with him. But, he finds her, and shows her the plans for a new kitchen, and things seem nice. Then Jake shows up, essentially marks his territory, and Adam leaves. Then, more lumpy old-person sex.

After this tryst, Jane slowly seems to be coming around to the idea of having sex with a bear, and she has a spring in her step. Who’d have thought having an affair would be so good for your health?

They do, I guess.

So, being high on illicit fucking, Jane forgets ANOTHER appointment with Adam, and rushes home to find he’s elaborately staked out on her lawn where the new addition will be. He did the job of, like, four laborers in about an hour just to show off a kitchen expansion; the least she could do is show up on time. But she does arrive, and Adam gives her a tour of the kitchen. During said tour, she gets a call from Jake, which she ignores. Cut to later that night: Jake is in the bathroom, leaving a desperate message on Jane’s cell to call him back. Pedro comes in, and is very suspicious, leading Jake to cover badly for what happened, and still find a way to escape. Two problems with this:

  1. Pedro is characterized as this annoying brat, especially when he tries to narc on Jake in this scene. But, really, think about it: this is a child whose (step) father is doing something bad, and is trying to get the truth out of him. And he’s shown as an annoyance. He’s getting in the way of the FUCKING AFFAIR JAKE’S HAVING BEHIND EVERYONE’S BACK.
  2. At this point, we see that Jake is a stalker. I saw it, Queta saw it, and yet, no one in the cast and crew seemed to catch this. He’s leaving messages on Jane’s phone desperate for a call back, and later, when she’s talking to Adam at HER house, he’s skulking around the garden, peeping on them through the windows. Did I mention this was a romantic comedy?

Then Adam leaves, Jake comes to the door, and, more lumpy old-person sex. Are you pleased with this amount of sex?

Afterward, Jane has a bath, and Jake hangs out with her in the bathroom. Jake produces a joint and asks her to smoke with him. She refuses, and he puts it away in her bathroom drawer. Now, weed’s not something done “in front of the children,” but I hate when weed is used in movies (or life) like it’s this OMG! TERRIBLY NAUGHTY thing, when we’re here in 2010 and there are approximately 6 pot dispensaries per person in LA. Really, pot is almost square at this point. When Jane finally gets stoned before her eventual date with Adam, then they get baked together, they snicker like it’s the worst thing they could do right now. No, the worst thing they could do is tie a hooker to a hotel bed and beat her while freebasing coke. A joint is hardly a blip on the moral radar anymore.

I don't know why I used this picture after the "hooker abuse" part, but it fits, doesn't it?

While stoned, they go to a party, which Jake and Agness are also attending. After some awkward banter between all of them, they start dancing. Jake and Jane eventually dance together, and Agness, seeing significant chemistry between them, puts it together and gets angry. Jake tries to kiss Jane, but she stops it, and goes off with Adam. Jake is depressed about the whole thing, so what does he do?

If you answered, “Sleep in his car outside Jane’s house,” DING DING DING! Healthy activities! Jake is so NOT a stalker! When Jane and the kids go out to ask him why he’s stalking Mommy, he says that he left Agness and wants to come back. Jane initially says no, because this sort of thing is KINDA sociopathic, but the kids make puppy dog faces (and the oldest daughter is at least 27; people still make puppy dog faces then?) and Jane acquiesces. Way to stay strong, Janey!

With Jake now insinuated into the children’s lives (there’s a really creepy shot of him bundled up on the couch with the kids watching a movie, looking at Jane, and mouthing “I love this!”), Jane retires to her bedroom to iChat with Adam. They both take a pee break, and Jake uses this time to come into her bedroom, STRIP NUDE, and plop onto her bed (see above photo). As expected, Jane returns to the bedroom, and freaks out, which freaks out Jake, which brings Adam back onto iChat, and he freaks out because he’s now looking at JAKE’S SWEATY BALL SACK.

I won't rehash the joke.

The kids then run in, see Jake and Jane together, and naturally ask what the fuck is going on. Jake confesses that he’s been seeing Jane and wants to have another relationship with her. Jane immediately dismisses that idea, and everyone leaves dejected. Jane has a good cry and sleeps in her backyard. Jake returns the next morning, and they have a talk about the whole sordid mess. They agree that though they won’t continue on, it was a good time, and good for them. I don’t agree with that at all, but whatever. She then visits the kids, who are holed up in the eldest’s bedroom, crying together on the bed. Seriously? I could see 12-year-olds crying together on the bed, but people between 20 and 27? I dunno, maybe I’m heartless, but that’s not happening. Jane explains that it was fun, but her and Jake’s relationship was an unholy act that God himself disapproved of, and it’s over, and they’ll just have to all move on. And they do.

She also meets with Adam to explain what happened, and he basically says she’s not completely over Jake, and that they should stay apart, and maybe he should pass on the house expansion. So, in the final scene, of course Adam’s there, leading the builders on the house expansion. Because seeing your new girlfriend’s ex-husband’s junk live on your MacBook is weird, but not THAT weird. Jane invites the builders in from the rain, and Adam joins her, and later on, we assume, more lumpy old-people sex.

Now the big issue I have with It’s Complicated is that it joins the pantheon of so-called “romantic comedies” which are based upon horrible moral premises. You’ve Got Mail is the story of a woman who falls for the man responsible for the demise of her livelihood. Bride Wars is about how two lifelong friends become cartoon villains because of a wedding date conflict. What Women Want is about a powerful womanizer who gets superhuman abilities, uses them to become more powerful, and gets away with it almost scot-free. It’s like if Lex Luthor became Darkseid, and got to nail Lois Lane along the way.

It’s is, at its core, the story of a stalker who ruins his ex-wife’s life. He’s constantly leaving secret messages for her, bugging her about why she’s not calling back, and worming himself back into his family’s life. It’s appalling how “cute” these things are portrayed. This is the kind of shit stalkers do in thrillers (or, real life). And we’re supposed to be sympathetic because Jake’s wife is sort of high-strung? Look, I get that Agness (portrayed by Lake Bell, who is gunning for Julia Roberts’ title of “Supposedly Hot Actress With a Giant Mouth”) is a bit type-A, and is on Jake about going to a fertility clinic so she can have another kid, but she’s not a monster. Let’s lay this out: Agness’ husband is sneaking out for sex with his ex-wife. No offense, Nancy Meyers, but I’d be pissed too. She has a right to be. Everyone in the film sees Agness like some insane harpy, but guess what? She’s Jake’s wife, too. And when Jane’s friends excuse the affair because they hate Agness, guess what? They’re now horrible people, who should’ve stopped this thing WAY earlier.

It’s Complicated is a story about rich white folks without problems creating one for themselves, and asking us to feel bad for them. I’m gonna make a film about a guy who wins the lottery, buys a mansion, pays off his and his family’s debts, and lives comfortably for ten years. Then he murders a hooker, because, why not? Then I’ll spend the rest of the movie making you feel sorry for him. That works, right? I even know who to cast in the lead.

Just kidding. It'll be Jeremy Piven.

That’s Confusing, out Christmas 2012 (because the world will have ended by then).

PS: here’s the flowchart I promised (edited because I am an idiot):

About Louis

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11 Responses to Stupid White People: “It’s Complicated”

  1. Clint says:

    Well, forget about Pteranodon Moments, this sounds like a Pteranodon Movie.

    • Louis says:

      Pretty much.

      And what kills me is that this movie got decent critical notice as a charming romantic comedy. It’s fucking disturbing, is what it is.

  2. Pingback: Stupid White People: “Chloe” | The Satellite Show

  3. Anne says:

    I LOVED this movie! You seem to be taking life too seriously, dude.

    • Louis says:

      Sorry, Anne. I’m really a fun dude when I’m not panicked about avian flu and the GOP ruining everyone’s lives. But I couldn’t get behind the core point of this movie. It just seemed like Baldwin was a creepy asshole with boundary issues, and to build an “Aw, shucks, that’s cute” story around it bugged me.

      Obviously, there is more to life than complaining about Baldwin’s creepy man-boobs, and I know that.

  4. Lauryn says:

    You are an idiot….. Pedro is Jake and Agness’ son. They’ve been together 10 years and he’s 5, do the math.

    • Louis says:

      From The Movie Spoiler’s summary:

      “However, then Agness left Jake for a former boyfriend, got pregnant by him and returned to Jake. Consequently, Jake is now raising Agness’ young son with a former lover, Pedro.”

      Still, the parentage of Pedro is of little consequence to how disturbing this movie was for me.

  5. Melissa says:

    Thank you! I just re-watched this movie last night for the first time since it came out and yes, you’re right. Jake is a sociopath. No guilt. Just wants what he wants when he wants it. Don’t forget the bit about Janey having been in therapy for eight years to get over living with the guy. And the part where she says to him something like, “it feels like it always was – the half-truths, the lies …” He’s a sociopath. He charms her into doing what she doesn’t want to do. I recognize the pattern – and it made me carzy to see that not one character int he film recognized the pattern – not her girlfriends, not her therapist, and certainly notJaney herself, even after eight years of therapy. I think thta one reason the rmovie was so popular was that women recognize ourselves in her: loving mom, confused by a male con man. I appreciate you calling it like it is!!

  6. Carol Bell says:

    I just watched this movie and was equally perplexed by so many weird elements. For one Alec Baldwin’s charachter behaves in a totally jealous/stalker like persona which they try to hide with light, perky music. It’s so weird. And the adult children are so juvenile like. The scene where they’re huddled together in a bed due to the “traumatization” of their parent’s situation – what?!! Who does this at that age? Lastly, I’m not too bug a fan of watching rom coms about rich people. It just alienates such a large part of the population. They could have toned that down a little. Maybe I’m seeming overly critical – I.e. can’t you just take it for face value and be entertained? No – sorry. I’d personally rather watch something that’s slightly more like real life.

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