Something's Gotta Give, starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton is deep, soulful and inspirational, stirring an array of emotions that makes the audience both laugh and cry. Careful consideration is given to the dialogue, written and executed by Hollywood luminary Nancy Meyers. Meyers, who is also producer and director has a keen observation of human behavior which is part of her outstanding success as a screenwriter. In addition to Something's Gotta Give, she has written some of the more important films and sitcoms of pop culture including, What Women Want, The Parent Trap, Private Benjamin, Irreconcilable Differences, Baby Boom, The Odd Couple and All in the Family. Something's Gotta Give was a smash at the box office in 2004, garnering cricial acclaim for Meyers and a Golden Globe Award for veteran actress Diane Keaton.
Although billed as a romantic comedy, Something's Gotta Give is multi leveled, addressing serious themes such as relationships between older women and younger men, the pain inflicted by physical intimacy without committment, the fear of aging and the fact that older people can and do fall in love. Harry Sanborn (NIcholson,) a perennial playboy with a libido much younger than his 63 years arrives for a weekend in the Hamptons with Marin, (Amanda Peet) a woman young enough to be his daughter. Marin's mother (Diane Keaton,) a well-known playwright who owns the palatial pad also arrives with her sister Zoe, (Francis McDormand) to work on her latest Broadway show. What starts out as a lovely weekend on a moonlit night turns to chaos when Harry and Erica immediately clash over Harry's remarks about older women.
As Harry and Marin become intimate, Harry develops chest pains and goes into cardiac arrest. Erica quickly administers CPR as Harry is rushed by ambulance to a nearby hospital. Dr. Julian Mercer, (keanu Reeves) tells Harry that he's had a heart attack and is much too weak to return to New York. Harry ends up back at the beach house where Erica plays nursemaid to a guy she hardly knows and can barely stand. During Harry's rehabilitation, the two discover they have much in common as Harry finds the impervious Erica irresistible and Erica detects a soulfulness in Harry that rattles her psyche to the bone. Enter the young doctor and you've got the perfect love triangle, complete with all the twists and turns synonomous with a romantic comedy.
The cast is star studded, featuring Diane Keaton who brilliantly portrays a woman scored to the hilt (I believe she's outdone herself in this film,) exposing every human emotion, incuding a wild crying jag that turns into a laughing spree, proving her wide range and agility as one of today's most engaging and sought-after actresses. Adding to the aesthetics of the film is natural beauty Amanda Peet, whose characterization of a hip New Yorker is close to perfect-from her chic wardrobe to her pop culture jargon.
Keanu Reeves on the other hand is his usual deadpan self- showing little or no emotion in all the pivotal scenes- but he too shines as I think a little bit of the stars' genius spurs him on. Academy-Award winner Francis McDormand's performance is limited and that's unfortunate, because its expansion would have added a bit to the film's profoundness. Jon Favreau has a small role as Harry's assistant which he plays up marvelously, and Paul Michael Glaser (Starsky and Hutch) is excellent in his depiction of the free-wheeling David, ex-hubby of Erica who he is still involved with professionally.
Jack Nicholson is smooth as silk, using all of his gifts- the famous eyes, his resonant voice and signature laugh to woo a bevy of on screen beauties, proving he's still a player and one of the major movie stars of our time. Critcs have often panned Jack, saying he's just portraying himself, but all of his roles are very different (About Schmidt, The Shining,) and I've always found Jack's performances to be heartfelt never phony.
The physical and emotional interactions between Erica and Harry are just part of the many components that makes this film so spectacular; especially hilarious is the bedroom romp where the two stars make work look like play and that's what makes it so much fun. It's easy to see why couples of all ages are able to relate, as the anticipation and awkwardness associated with the consummation of a new relationship is a universal theme.
Something's Gotta Give will make you into a believer- a belief that that older adults, long past the prime of life are still sensual beings with emotional and sexual feelings towards the opposite sex. When Harry confesses to Erica "I'm 63 years old and I finally get what it's all about- I'm in love for the first time in my life," it made me into a believer too, that love is not only for the young, but also for the young at heart. Highly recommended.
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