Gotta Give. Columbia
Pictures presents a film written and directed by Nancy
Meyers. Running time: 124 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for sexual
content, brief nudity and strong language).
Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves, Amanda Peet, Frances
McDormand, Jon Favreau.
Nancy Meyers has admirable intentions in making Something's
Gotta Give. She wants to eschew the typical romantic comedy
by placing two older people as the couple. Unfortunately,
while this is a rather novel idea, and had the potential be
an important entry into the genre, Meyers's script never transcends
convention, simply following traditional romantic comedy clichés.
Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton manage to pump some life into
the proceedings, but even they can't save the film.
Langer (Nicholson) is a 63-year-old record company executive
known for his affinity for women under thirty. His latest
conquest is Marin Barry (Amanda Peet), an auctioneer at Christie's.
While Marin's mother, Erica (Keaton), is away, the two go
to her beach house for a wild weekend. But then Erica, as
well as her sister, Zoe (Frances McDormand), return early,
leaving Harry and Marin in an awkward position. The four decide
to stay the weekend, but their plans are foiled when Harry
has a heart attack, forcing him to remain at Erica's house,
much to her chagrin. Meanwhile, Harry's doctor, Julian (Keanu
Reeves, suprisingly charismatic and un-wooden) has developed
feelings for Erica.
Harry and Erica are repulsed by one another. Harry thinks
Erica is hopelessly uptight, and Erica views Harry as chauvinistic.
But as the two spend more time together, they start to grow
on each other, and soon they are in love. But, this being
a romantic comedy, things must come between them. In this
case, these are Harry's polygamous nature and Julian's advances.
complications lead to an needlessly protracted sequence in
which Harry and Erica are separated for a great period of
time. Since all we really want to see is the two together,
and since the finale is inevitable, this period is more boring
also doesn't help that Erica's other love interest, Julian,
is likeable too, and to see him succeed wouldn't be all that
bad, really. He has no real flaws, he's charming, and he really
is in love with Erica. So when the inevitable occurs, when
Harry and Erica end up together, we honestly feel worse for
Julian than we feel good for Harry. And, dammit, we shouldn't,
not in this kind of movie.
for all the film's flaws, it is re-energized whenever Nicholson
and Keaton are on screen together. They exude chemistry and
charisma, and their scenes together work, even when they shouldn't.
Nicholson is his usual rascally self, both sleazy and charming.
He can be an ass, but damned if he isn't a likeable ass. He's
probably sort of playing himself, and he takes great joy in
this role. Keaton is also charming, and really good looking
considering her age (57, if I'm not mistaken). It's her best
role in years, and she manages to make even her lamest lines
of dialogue believable. However, there is one long sequence,
in which Keaton is consistantly wracked with sobs, and she
doesn't quite pull it off. The delightful Frances McDormand
is disappointingly underused.
a moment in the film in which Keaton describes something as
being "Perfectly...whatever." And that pretty much
sums up my feelings for Something's Gotta Give. It
has some hilarious moments, some good acting, and it often
hints at what it could have been. But ultimately it's just
average, and nothing special, really.
2003 Matt Noller