|Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Frances McDormand, Keanu Reeves, Amanda Peet, Jon Favreau
|January 8, 2004
63-year-old Harry Sanborn (Nicholson) loves dating younger women. He’s always got the upper hand which allows him to complete the phase of dating them, sleeping with them and then dumping them. It sounds perverse but he does this will elegance and class. In fact, a leading New York magazine recently wrote a glowing article on this wealthy, never-married bachelor.
Harry’s latest flame is a cute twenty-something named Marin Barry (Peet). She’s invited him to her mother’s empty beach house for the weekend but don’t intend on spending too much time outside the bedroom. Harry’s packed his Viagra and is set to roll.
A few major glitches will then ruin his weekend but more importantly they will change his life forever. Firstly, Marin’s mother arrives unexpectedly at the beach house. Erica Barry (Keaton) is a very successful playwright and has come to the house to clear her mind and work on her latest play. She is horrified to see Marin dating someone older than herself but her sister, Zoe (McDormand), pleads with her to be reasonable and give Harry a chance.
That first night at the beach house, Harry suffers a mild heart-attack and is rushed by Erica and Marin to the hospital. There he is treated by Dr Julian Mercer (Reeves) who agrees to release him under the condition that he stay close to the hospital for a few days in case there are any further complications. Of course the only such place is the beach house and with Marin returning back to the city, it’s just Harry and Erica on their own…
Jack Nicholson is his usual suave self and a fitting choice for the role but it’s the amazing Diane Keaton who shines in one of her best ever performances. Her character is strong on the outside but as we learn as the film progresses, she is highly vulnerable on the inside. You do feel for her and credit to Keaton for bringing out these feelings in the audience.
Writer/director Nancy Meyers (What Women Want) doesn’t let the film get too bogged down in the drama and keeps things light with appropriate comedy. There’s a scene where Erica cries at her keyboard but then starts laughing, then crying, then laughing again. This sums up in a nutshell the mix of drama and comedy on display. It’s a little long in duration (over two hours) but one can be excused considering we’re looking at two of the greatest actors going around.
With a few subplots working in the background, the ending isn’t quite as predictable as you might think. I was kept on my toes throughout and often outsmarted when trying to pre-empt the story. There are strong messages underlying the plot and those of an older age will appreciate them most. Although having made close to $100m in the United States so far, you’d have to say the film is appealing to all age-groups.
Something’s Gotta Give will undoubtedly be one of the best films of the romance genre we’ll see in 2004. Reward yourself and appreciate its intelligence before the usual sappy, predictable garbage comes back to litter our screens for the rest of the year.