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Films: Age of Romance * * *

(romantic comedy. Starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, Lake Bell and John Krasinski. Directed by Nancy Meyers. cert 15A)

It's pretty easy to spot a Nancy Meyers' film (she's the woman behind Something's Gotta Give and The Holiday). Like interiors magazine shoots come to life, everyone and everything looks glowy and gorgeous. Female characters are always draped in buttery cashmere and the houses would make you weep with jealousy. Or perhaps that's just me.

Her latest offering, It's Complicated, is no different and echoes the middle-aged romance of 2003's Something's Gotta Give, albeit not so successfully.

Here, Meryl Streep plays Jane, the owner of a bakery and mother of three grown-up children. She's divorced and after ten years has a friendly enough relationship with her ex, Jake (Baldwin). Jake is now married to the much younger Agness (Bell), the woman he cheated on Jane with and has Agness's demanding child in tow.

When the family decamps to New York for a college graduation, Jane and Jake find themselves having dinner together in the hotel ... one bottle leads to another and they end up in bed, where Baldwin utters a line that made me gasp: 'I can't believe he said that! To Meryl Streep!'

So nice, earth-mothery Jane becomes the other woman, to the other woman. She and her friends decide it's great Jane's having fun, and revenge.

But the infidelity adds a bit of an unpleasant tone to all that fun and really, Jake's such a pompous arse it's hard to see why Jane was ever with him in the first place.

Further complicating matters is Adam (Martin, who's looking very odd these days), the architect who has designs on Jane. He's shy and is still getting over his own divorce but their blossoming friendship/romance leaves Jane with a decision to make.

While it's not nearly as good as the zingy Jack Nicholson/ Diane Keaton Something's Gotta Give, It's Complicated is enjoyable enough thanks to Streep, the early scenes with Baldwin and the lovely Mr Krasinski who's the perfect antidote to Jane's irritating kids. But it will be a long time before I can forget the sight of a nudie Alec Baldwin. You have been warned. HHHII


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