Friday, February 26, 2010


Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin
Lake Bell, John Krasinski

"Divorced ... with Benefits!"

Cinema 2, Shang Cineplex

Despite nursing a bad cold, I found myself inside a cold cinema and enjoying a rom-com for middle aged couples. It is really not that complicated. It is entertaining. It's pure, simple fun, with a great cast of talented actors who are well established in the film industry.

Jane (Meryl Streep) and Jake (Alec Baldwin) have been divorced for a decade. While attending their son's graduation in New York, they reconnect and rekindle a spark in their estranged relationship. But there are issues. Jake is now married to Agnes (Lake Bell) a much younger woman while Jane has recently started dating her architect, Adam (Steve Martin).

I could sense that Jane was really in a dilemma yet at the same time she couldn't bring herself to end the forbidden relationship. It seemed like an addiction for them as they are now both free to explore each other without worrying about their children (who are all grown up with their own lives), mortgages and their careers. Jake was stuck in a loveless marriage with a younger woman who was obsessed with having another child. A situation where he has lost any form of control over his wife, his son and his miserable life. Thus providing him with a good excuse to cheat and find solace in the arms of a woman who has known him for years.

But I kept telling myself - Jane should instead fall in love with Adam who had no strings attached and 'excess baggage'. He was a decent professional with a thriving career. They shared a lot in common and had a good foundation on which to form a healthy relationship. Although the affair between Jane and Jake was presented in a fun and funny fashion, I still felt bad every time they met for their illicit romps. I don't want to sound prudish but I guess I prefer relationships to be based on mutual trust, not secretive as they are hard enough to sustain on its own merit.

Having said that, this well directed film from Nancy Myers was a refreshing change from the average young couples love story genre. It has a great cast who all portrayed their meaty roles with aplomb. Meryl Streep is in her elements as Jane. Although, I thought that Alec Baldwin seemed a bit young to be a father of 3 grown up children. I totally adored Steve Martin as Adam. His serious demeanor added some elegance to his divorcee role. As most romantic comedies go, the plot was pretty predictable with its loose ends nicely tied to ensure a happy ending for all the characters.

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