American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
"It's Complicated" is perfectly plausible if you are only willing to believe that Meryl Streep sells a whole lot of muffins. She plays a bakery/restaurant owner who lives in Santa Barbara in a sprawling hacienda on a bluff overlooking the Pacific, set on grounds approached by a sweeping circular drive. (I've been to Oprah's place, which is only a little nicer.) Life is sweet, although Jane hires an architect to give her a new kitchen. Her current one tragically has only two ovens.
Give the sainted Meryl a lot of credit. Living alone, she occupies this space as if it makes perfect sense for her. There's an actress for you. Jane's children love her, her prospective son-in-law, Harley, adores her, and life would be perfect if it weren't that her husband Jake (Alec Baldwin) left her 10 years ago. You'd think she'd be able to get over the loss of Baldwin in 10 years. A lot of women have.
Jake married the much younger Agness (Lake Bell), another of those people who mess with the spelling of their names to make it hard on everybody. Agness (rhymes with ssss) has a perfect body but a petulant expression, and for the life of us, we can't figure out why Jake left the merry Meryl for her. Neither can he. Running into his first wife at their son's graduation, he's moved by memories of their past. At the bar of her hotel, she unwisely orders a Tanqueray martini, dry, with a lemon twist, just before Jake walks in. That's like disarming before the battle.
They experience something between love and tantric rapture. She's not merely more exciting than he remembered, she's the next generation of Viagra. Alec Baldwin, it must be said, was born to play a man blissful in bed, and few other actors could so perfectly deliver his line "home, sweet home." Streep, in one of her rare (and non-explicit, of course) sex scenes, inspires as so often our belief that she's good at everything she does. Maybe she does bake great muffins.