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Something's Gotta Give

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4

All-Reviews.com 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 Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

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 shock.

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 time.

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

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