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SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE
U.S. Release Date: December 12, 2003
Distributor: Sony / Columbia
Director: Nancy Meyers
Writer: Nancy Meyers
Producer: Nancy Meyers
Composer: Ramin Djawadi (Additional music), Christopher Young (Additional music), Hans Zimmer
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves, Frances McDormand, Amanda Peet, Jon Favreau
Running Time: 2 hours and 8 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for sexual content, brief nudity and strong language)

Fun With Diane and Jack
by Scott Holleran

Nancy Meyers presents a romantic romp in Something's Gotta Give, played like a pajama game with laughter, tenderness and a great cast—for the most part. Writer and director Meyers, who wrote Private Benjamin, Baby Boom and Father of the Bride and directed What Women Want—delivers wry, adult humor.

Meyers holds to a light, ironic and unlikely love story between Diane Keaton (in her best role since Marvin's Room) and Jack Nicholson (who exhibits talent for physical comedy). Jack and Diane—on screen together for the first time since Reds—play two rich, self-absorbed Baby Boomers.

They meet when playwright Diane's daughter (Amanda Peet) brings her much older boyfriend, a rap record executive played by Jack, to the Hamptons for a weekend. After Jack has a heart attack, he winds up recuperating at the ocean-side retreat while Diane works on her latest play.

Jack's cigar-smoking, promiscuous older man faces his own cardiac-impaired aging while getting stuck with turtle-necked Diane at her nonsmoking beach palace. They begin to fall in and out of love, usually while in their pajamas. Between walks along the beach and late night refrigerator raids, they discover the advantages of living in—not for—the moment.

Something's Gotta Give is as pretty as the cover of a Martha Stewart magazine, as light as air and the cast is having so much fun it doesn't matter. Watching naughty Jack turn controlling Diane on—and seeing the Sugar Daddy finally awaken to the charms of a woman his own age—is better than watching Hollywood's usual assault on the senses. An e-mail scene between the two—typing away to one another in real time—is among the best.

Supporting roles are especially good. In their brief scenes on screen—Jon Favreau's affectionate assistant hugs Jack, Keanu Reeves sweeps Diane off her feet, Frances McDormand skewers Jack for chasing young women—the inviting cast of characters shines.

When things turn as serious as a heart attack, Jack and Diane intellectualize their affair and cast the movie into an unbearable Baby Boomer agony that is overwrought, implausible and unnecessary. Everything goes from a frolic in the Hamptons to a trudge through frantic Manhattan. Subplots about a play, a re-marriage and too many trips to the hospital slow the momentum. The pajama game is over.

There's a poignant moment when, after their affair has run its course, Jack starts an instant message to Diane saying "I Miss You"—and, in a flash of maturity, he decides to let it go. If only Meyers had done the same.

Something's Gotta Give is powered by Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton—and it is also diminished by their heavy presence. Throughout their careers, she has played the doubting anti-heroine while he has been the devious anti-hero. As a couple, they are amusing and that is the depth of their appeal.

As they attempt to elevate a playful episode into real romance—Meyers invokes An Affair to Remember with a Parisian twist—Jack and Diane wear thin as a pair of aging Baby Boomers consumed by their own problems. Meyers shifts from comedy to drama and the light tone gives way, revealing character deficiencies. Diane's long-awaited play is neither touching nor funny and what makes Jack's bachelor funny—his penchant for younger bimbos, his career in rap recordings and a prescription for Viagra—makes him equally pathetic.

As long as they're having fun in the Hamptons, despite being dimmed during the last third of the movie, Something's Gotta Give lets its movie stars shine.


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