Something's Gotta Give

December, 2003, Comedy

Directed by:Nancy Meyers

Starring:Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves, and Amanda Peet

Seeing this romantic comedy, written and directed by Hollywood veteran Nancy Meyers, is a bit like getting a Parcha Massage, that Caribbean specialty featuring a bit of exfoliation combined with a passion fruit rub-down; the results are perfectly relaxing and about as essential as marshmallows in your diet.

Once again, Ms. Meyers turns her attention to that perennial staple of this genre, man's failure to commit. This time, it's life-long bachelor Harry Sanborn, (Jack Nicholson) a wealthy record company executive who, at age 63, has had the bad taste to suffer a heart attack while weekending with sweet young thing Marin Barry, (Amanda Peet) at the South Hampton home of Marin's mother Erica, (Diane Keaton). After seeing local doctor Julian Mercer, (Keanue Reaves) Harry must of course recuperate at Erica's while his gal-pal returns to the city and her work as a leading auctioneer for Christies, leaving an annoyed Erica to nurse Sanborn back to health. Dr. Mercer falls for the older Erica while Harry discovers--surprise-- that a woman his own age can be as attractive as the 30-somethings he's devoted his life to wooing. Will Marin have to fight her own mother for Harry's affections? Will Erica glide into a Hampton-ian ménage-a-trois? Will Harry finally settle down? 

Do you really need to ask? 

This is Rock Hudson/Doris Day country, updated to the 21st century; everyone has a glamorous job, wears great-looking designer clothes to do household chores and lives in exquisitely appointed surroundings while conversing in bon mots which would take the average person months to invent. But Meyers has a good ear for the way brittle, urbane Manhattanites verbally fend each other off while courting, and the leads have played these characters so often they're as comfortable as a pair of old slippers in their respective roles. Nicholson, looking a bit porcine even in his tailored suits, isn't ageing all that gracefully, but Ms. Keaton, (having rounded double 5’s in real life and bearing down on her 60th) looks terrific; she updates her Annie Hall persona here quite credibly, although her rolling eyes and awkward smiles have an annoying tendency to occasionally get in the way of her lines.

At just over two hours, this bit of fluff goes one plot development too far, winding up with a Parisian restaurant scene that's implausible even for this cinematic flight of fancy. But for the over 50 crowd, Something's Gotta Give provides a pleasant opportunity to enjoy a screen romance featuring actors old enough to have actually been around the track often enough to relish what they've gotten themselves into. Like a professional message, this one's mildly stimulating and very easy to take.

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