December 11, 2003

Something’s Gotta Give - Movie Review

A Funny, Poignant Tale For All
By Fred H. Arm
Academy Award® winners Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton and Frances McDormand star with Keanu Reeves and Amanda Peet in a sophisticated romantic comedy from writer/director Nancy Meyers (What Women Want, The Parent Trap).

Picture an aging, 63 year-old Lothario, Harry (Jack Nicholson) with a libido much younger than his years and his sweet young plaything, Marin (Amanda Peet), on a weekend trip to Marin’s parents beach house for a romantic getaway weekend. Just before their weekend begins, Marin’s mom, Erica (Diana Keaton), a successful playwright, and her sister Zoe (Frances McDormand) arrive unexpectedly to spoil their weekend. After polite urgings by Marin’s mother and sister, Harry reluctantly decides to spend the weekend with the entire entourage. During dinner, Harry shares his passion for dating younger women and that he would never date women his own age. Reluctantly, Erica and her sister more or less accept what is happening and begrudgingly accept the amorous goings on around them.

Marin and Harry start kissing in the other room and Harry passes out from a heart attack. Harry is then rushed to the hospital. Dr. Julian ( Keanu Reeves) tells Harry that he has to stay off his feet and cannot go back to his home in the City until he has improved. Julian then suggests that Harry spends a week at Erica’s home until he is well enough to travel back to the City. Harry and Erica express some reservations, however, Erica and Harry soon find out they are really not so different from each other after all, developing a special relationship and bond together. Once she accepts her situation, she opens up an emotional reservoir within her that affects her more deeply than anything has in years. Harry becomes open to appreciating the appeal of women his own age. As they become more at ease with one another, the dialogue between them becomes crisp, fresh, and revealing of their intimate personas.

At about the very same time, Harry’s 36 year-old charming doctor (Keanu Reeves) makes a play for Erica, while Harry attempts to seduce Erica with his own fading charms. Erica, caught in the middle, is amazed at all the attention placed on her. It is unfortunate that the chemistry between Harry and Erica is not quite as believable and intimate as it seems to be between Erica and Julian, the young thirty-some doctor. I can easily overlook this minor flaw and simply chalk it up to Jack Nicholson’s personal lack of ability to deeply connect to a mature woman other than sexually.
“Something’s Gotta Give” is well crafted with humor, poignancy, and drama. The laughs will keep you rolling in the aisles. The script is smart, fresh, and sophisticated. Jack Nicholson proves once again that he is a superb actor and can play most any type of character flawlessly. Praise is also due to Diane Keaton, portraying probably her best role in years as a delightfully sweet overworked play write. Keanu Reeves, Frances McDormand, and Amanda Peet create perfect supporting roles and are each played with exceptional panache and style.

Accolades are also well deserved for writer/director Nancy Meyers for attempting to challenge the system by making Harry’s object of desire a 57 year-old woman. One does not see enough of that sort of thing these days. This is a film that is juicy from its very first bite and maintains its flavor throughout.

The movie may be a bit predictable at times, however the script was brisk, refreshing, and funny while maintaining just the right mix of comedy and drama. Notwithstanding that the ending was somewhat clichéd, the film itself still ended on a very meaningful note.

It opens December 12th at all theaters in the Bay Area.

Posted by fredarm at December 11, 2003 12:30 PM
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