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Something's Gotta Give

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Something's Gotta Give

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton
Director: Nancy Meyers
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 133 Minutes
Release Date: December 2003
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Amanda Peet, Keanu Reeves, Frances McDormand, Jon Favreau, Nichole Hiltz, Roxanne Beckford, Lewis Dauber, Deborah Daulton-Morton, Maria Esquivel, Michelle Fabiano

Review by Harvey Karten
1 star out of 4

What's the ideal age? A recent study in the U.S. indicates a preference for forty, when the average individual has nurtured a strong sense of worth and identity. There's little evidence that people in their sixties consider themselves at the top of the heap happiness-wise, but people who have crossed the middle-age barrier of 65, now on the other side and perhaps considering "Is this all there is?" might take heart. Hunks like Robert Redford and Warren Beatty are sixty-six. Ditto Morgan Freeman. Jack Nicholson, though no longer at his peak, is still running strong though not blessed with scripts like "Chinatown" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" that offer real challenges to both the audience and the performers. "Something's Gotta Give," the generically-titled comedy that features Nicholson as a well-to-do fellow who never dates a woman over the age of thirty, is in a typical Hollywood vehicle, a formulaic, utterly predictable yet far- fetched tale. We're asked to believe that a sixty-three-year old male of not more than average looks, albeit with a stash of assets under the belt that lies hidden under an expanding pouch, is able to attract women three or four decades younger and that he has such a following of gorgeous trophies that their vitals fill up a dozen personal phone books. The biggest fault of the movie, however, is that it's not funny now that's nothing for an alleged comedy to boast.

Mixing sloppy sentiment with impotent Viagra gags, "Something's Gotta Give" highlights Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson), a success in business whose ten companies include the #2-rated hip-hop label, now dating the luscious Marin (Amanda Peet). As they enter the beach house owned by Marin's mom, Erica Barry (Diane Keaton) for their first assignation, Harry is caught with his pants down by Erica and her articulate sister Zoe (Frances McDormand), who mistake him for a burglar. Suffering a mild heart attack which is treated by a handsome cardiologist, Julian Mercer (Keanu Reeves), Harry is surprised to discover that he is increasingly attracted to the woman who is just years young than he and must compete for her while the very physician who has healed his heart may be breaking it by competing for playwright Erica's affection.

While feminists are occasionally appalled at stories that feature aging would-be Lotharios proudly escorting pliant babes, "Something's Gotta Give" does offer a rejoinder. The middle- aged woman, a successful writer who has several Broadway plays to her credit, is found wildly attractive by a man twenty-five years her junior, while the sixty-something Casanova is prepared to toss his collection of phone books into the Seine in his desire for the mother of his most recent date.

This talky and tedious tale of trysts and trophies gives Diane Keaton a less-than-thankful role, that of a woman eager to court theater audience laughter through her periods of excessive laughter and infantile sobs. "Something's Gotta Give" is that unusual entry during the month of December in which a studio should be expected to court end-year awards. Writer-director Nancy Meyers comes up with a conventional, mirth-challenged comedy.

Copyright 2003 Harvey Karten

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