The Comedy of Remarriage and Its Ties to Its Complicated

The comedy of remarriage has been seen throughout multiple different platforms. As Stanley Cavill talks about in his book, Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage, the comedy of remarriage is significantly different from Old and New Comedy, as its main drive is focused on the heroine and getting the central pair back together again after overcoming something between them. I believe that this type of comedy can be seen in It’s Complicated ( Nancy Myers, 2009). The main character Jane, starts having an affair with her ex-husband Jake, after they had gotten a divorce ten years earlier.

Now, Jake is married to a much younger woman, and Jane is beginning to have feelings for a man named Adam. These elements are the things that they must overcome in order to get together again. I also believe that this can be seen in A Midsummer’s Nights Dream (Max Reinhardt, 1935), except this films ending follows along with the comedy of remarriage, while It’s Complicated does not. The Queen of the Fairies Titania and the King of the Fairies Oberon are estranged and have been fighting over a changing boy, which is the element that these two must overcome. Now in this film Oberon ends up taking what he wants once he has cast a love spell on Titania, but in the end they are in love once more.

In It’s Complicated, rather than the main pair getting back together, Jane ends up single, but with an assumed romance with Adam, which was one of the complications in getting her and Jake back together. Now even though this film doesn’t have the typical ending of a traditional comedy of remarriage, it does have most of the other elements, along with the main goal of getting them back together.

2 comments

  1. This is a very interesting, dynamic comparison; and one I would have never thought about putting together. I think you did a great job of showing the similarities between these two couples, and then showing how Jake and Jane were different in a modern context.

  2. I agree that there are certain elements of a comedy of remarriage in “It’s Complicated”, even though Jane and Jake do not end up together at the end and the film was released many decades after the heyday of the genre. Additionally, I like that you used two examples in analysing Stanley Cavell’s writing on this topic.

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