Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton -- what an inspired pairing! SOMETHING'S GOTTA
GIVE, written and directed by WHAT WOMEN WANT's Nancy Meyers, is a
good-spirited comedy about a group of May-December romances.
When the story starts, Harry Langer (Nicholson), a famous bachelor who only
dates younger women, is off for the weekend with his latest squeeze, Marin
Barry (Amanda Peet), to go to her mother's house in the country. He's a rich
owner of a hip-hop recording company, and they met in one of the auctions that
she runs at Christie's.
As Harry runs around in the kitchen in his underwear, in walks Marin's shocked
mother, Erica (Keaton), a well-known playwright, and Erica's sister, Zoe
(Frances McDormand). With embarrassment all around, everyone wants to leave
but decides instead to be mature and stay. A subsequent medical emergency for
Harry has the four of them off to the hospital where the thirtysomething ER
doctor, Julian (Keanu Reeves), realizes that he'd like nothing better than
being "The One" for Erica.
Yet another romance that spans the decades is that of Erica's ex-husband and
his young fianc‚e, but, like the character of Harry's assistant, Leo (Jon
Favreau), these characters would have been better written out of the script
entirely so that the narrative could be more focused and just a bit shorter.
The funny script has several of its best jokes in the trailers, but there are
many more that aren't. And unlike some films with funny trailers whose bits
aren't nearly as humorous in the movie itself, this time they are even better.
These include a great on-going Viagra joke and one about Harry seeing Erica
nude. "I've never seen a woman that age naked before," Harry confesses in
Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton have wonderful chemistry together. At first,
when Erica is forced to play temporary nursemaid to the fussy Harry, she hates
him, and he isn't wild about her either. Too quickly, however, they are making
eyes for each other. Peet's facial expressions, when her character realizes
what is happening, are precious.
Erica hasn't had a date in like forever, but, in a short period of time, she
has a doctor taking her out to dinner and a house guest instant messaging her
about meeting him in the kitchen for a late night pajama party. Perhaps the
movie's biggest surprises are a couple of genuinely touching scenes in which
Nicholson cries, which is probably some kind of first for him. Keaton cries
too, but longer and funnier. "I can't decide if you hate me, or if you're the
only person who really gets me," Erica remarks perceptively to Harry as they
hobnob in their PJs.
Of the movie's many great scenes, none is funnier than one involving the taking
of Harry's blood pressure. Our audience went wild during it. Nicholson has
the best part and does the most with it, but Keaton has the biggest challenge
and is the only one from the picture that you're likely to hear about at Oscar
The last act turns wonderfully tender and sweet and allows for some great
closure for the characters themselves and for us with them. In year with a
paucity of decent holiday movies, this is one of the few good ones.
SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE runs a little long at 2:03. It is rated PG-13 for
"sexual content, brief nudity and strong language" and would be acceptable for
kids around 12 and up.
Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes