Something's Gotta Give Movie Review

Writer/director Nancy Meyers has penned a little ditty about Jack and Diane in Something's Gotta Give. Sure, they go by different names and actually attempt to construct characters separated from their recognizable personas. Borrowing a page from his own playbook, Jack plays a chauvinistic womanizer with a penchant for 20-year-old women. Diane's a successful playwright. But they're still Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. They're the two-headed spectacle standing at center stage here, and our attention belongs on them.

The setup goes a little something like this. Jack's dating Marin (Amanda Peet), the feisty daughter of buttoned-up Diane. During a weekend trip to the Hamptons, Jack's libido loses out to his ticker, and he suffers a cardiac arrest. The local doctor (Keanu Reeves) prescribes plenty of bed rest for Jack, then makes a pitch for the lovely Diane, to her blushing delight.

The word of the day, kids, is "magnetism." Jack revels in his like a pig in slop, while Diane all but denies she possesses any. She channels the prototypical neurotic New Yorker, exactly the type of character she deconstructed in Woody Allen's famed Annie Hall. Jack, comfortable in any skin, can't quite comprehend why Diane's so uncomfortable in the skin she's in.

Late night conversations between the two dissect the double standard on dating young and the ever-altering coupling rituals of different generations. Meyers' characters seem poised to deliver caustic, acerbic, and bitingly witty repartee, but the words and sentiments she writes for them sound cutesy. Heated talk leads to a hilarious romp in the sheets, where Diane's taking Jack's blood pressure - and I mean that literally.

Jack and Diane's connection is so immediate and blindingly radiant that the rest of the cast can't penetrate the spotlight shining down on them long enough to make a mark. After a brief but beefy monologue, Frances McDormand gets shuffled off stage right. Peet serves as a lame plot device, a catalyst needed to get Jack and Diane in the same room time after time. And Reeves, wholly likeable, sheds the Neo baggage and successfully picks up a feathery-light puppy dog love interest role.

As the title suggests, something eventually does have to give, but I'm sorry to report it's your patience. Give makes its point about romance in the time of age differences, then lingers around. "I'm an old dog," Jack exclaims, and Give has few new tricks for him. Despite the wisdom Jack and Diane bring to the table, there's a certain formula the two must contend with. Not surprisingly, the two exceptional leads work better than the movie that contains them.

Someone's giving right now!


Comments

Something's Gotta Give Rating

" Good "

Rating: PG-13, 2003

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