A romantic comedy directed by husband and wife Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine) and written by female lead Zoe Kazan, whose real life partner Paul Dano also stars, it is not unexpected that Ruby Sparks should have a lot to say about relationships. Where it does surprise, however, is in its refreshingly layered approach to the genre. Observing reality through the premise of a fairytale, it is at once a critique of fantasy and a lesson in how to make it real.
It’s not too surprising that in recession-era Hollywood, where only the surefire box-office earners are getting made, a rom-com with the name Meryl Streep in the top billing was one of January’s big releases. When you add director Nancy Meyers (What Women Want, Something’s Gotta Give) to the mix, it was virtually a written guarantee to fans of the genre that you’re in for an enjoyable 90 minutes. And with Meyers’ generally sharp and incisive writing, it might even be a cut above your average brainless rom-com. It’s Complicated certainly delivers on the first count, but whether it does on the second is debatable.
We at Best For Film are probably in the majority if we say we’ve never seen Meryl Streep in a bad movie, so it’s not surprising that in safe, recession-era Hollywood, a rom-com with her name in top billing is one of January’s big releases. Add director Nancy Meyers of Something’s Gotta Give fame to the mix and you should have a surefire hit. But despite having all the hallmarks of a Meyers film, this fluffy romp still falls a little flat.