Writer/director Nancy Meyers may not be a consummate feminist in the Jane Campion mode, but she certainly knows how to make upscale chick flicks about love/sexual dealings with men ("What Women Want," "Something's Gotta Give") - peppering them with sophisticated but not particularly profound insights and titillations, leaning into the screwball comedy arena from the distaff vantage point.
This is pretty much in the same vein as her other flicks. A divorced couple (Meryl Sreep, Alec Baldwin) living in upper crust Santa Barbara reunite & to his delight have a drunken, wildly abandoned bedding. He's now married to a super-model-type, younger woman (Lake Bell) with a 5-year-old brat, and finds his ex-wife particularly preferable in bed. She's reluctant, but grudgingly amenable to having an affair, one that can be enriching, devil-may-care fun. Enter a buttoned-down architect (Steve Martin), hired to build a totally unnecessary addition to her Mediterranean-style home and you have the makings of a second-rate Cukor romantic comedy. Instead, it develops into a fairly predictable 120-minute sitcom revolving around will he, will she, will they, right down to the expected denouement.
The adulterous situation is handled with glee. He is charmingly aggressive, she is hesitantly pliable. The perceptive son-in-law is shocked but protective of her reputation among her grown family. Her harpy girlfriends, sipping cocktails in an upscale restaurant fashionably delight in the affair, which for them borders on chic. Director Meyers coyly plays it as naughty but nice - just a lot of adolescent playfulness that sludges into the expected complications before the final dues-ex-machina choice is made.
The cast is, to a person, excellent. John Toll's camera captures all the cast (except, intentionally, the self-centered, cuckolded young wife) in the softest glow while it catches the slick charm & sophistication of the upper crust milieu (though he must unhappily include a phony drenching rain sequence that fails to conceal an otherwise sunlit California day). Henry Jackman's editing is smooth, deliberately fast paced. Hans Zimmerman's lush background music, abetted by sugar-coated pop tunes, is unobtrusively, slickly correct. Women, young & old, will love it. (Grade: B-)