When Jack Met Diane
"Something's Gotta Give" is a movie which has a lot about it which I really like but just as much that I dislike. It makes a stand and proves that a romantic comedy doesn't need to focus on sexy young things to work and that older, more mature actors and actresses can be just as sexy as is the case with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson, well actually Nicholson is not really sexy but oozes that devilish charm which makes him appealing. But "Something's Gotta Give" is also over long, seriously at just over 2 hours it feels in places painfully dragged out and causes your interest to wane at the mark where most romantic comedies find closure.
Ageing womanizer Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson - Anger Management) has just one rule when it comes to who he will date; he never dates anyone over the age of thirty, which is the reason as to why he's dating hot young auctioneer Marin (Amanda Peet - One Fine Day). But he's in for a surprise when they go for a weekend break to her mother Erica's (Diane Keaton - Marvin's Room) summer house in the Hamptons, only to discover Erica there as well. Harry's in for an even bigger shock when he suffers a heart attack and is forced to convalesce at Erica's place. Under the watchful eye of Erica and his doctor, Julian Mercer (Keanu Reeves - The Matrix Revolutions), an unexpected love triangle starts to take shape.
Whilst "Something's Gotta Give" proves that there is much enjoyment to be had from watching a relationship form between older couples and that you don't need to be under thirty to be sexy, one thing remains, "Something's Gotta Give" is a seriously formulaic movie which never strays, and I do mean never, from the path which so many other romantic comedies regularly take. What this means is basically that "Something's Gotta Give" is a movie about a man and a woman, they meet but something happens to drive them apart and you can pretty much guess the rest. But the clever thing here is that because the characters in "Something's Gotta Give" do not feel like those stereotypes which plague this genre, it feels sort of fresh and different from the majority of similar movies.
The biggest issue with "Something's Gotta Give" is that it is far too long at just over 2 hours. It's a shame as for the first half of the movie things move along at a nice pace with the relationship between Harry and Erica providing a great source of interest as well as amusement. But when things go wrong in their relationship the momentum of "Something's Gotta Give" nearly grinds to a halt. Every scene at this point starts to feel dragged out and takes not so much a serious tone but one which is a lot less amusing. Maybe because the movie moves away from the summer home and into the city where more emphasis is put on the characters when they are apart. It's a shame as it caused me to look at my watch and wonder when the predictable climax would come.
One of the strangest things about "Something's Gotta Give" as well as being enjoyable is in the actual characters. So "Something's Gotta Give" is about Harry an aging Lothario and Erica a divorced/ uptight playwright, but it doesn't feel like we are watching them more that we are watching Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton play versions of themselves. Take Harry Sandborn the aging womanizer, well with Jack Nicholson's reputation for being a bit of a lothario he is perfect for the role and plays upon it. He displays that devilish charm which I am sure attracts many women and in some ways parodies himself, but it works and is incredibly enjoyable. The same for Diane Keaton who I would say plays a character which most likely resembles her own persona quite accurately. The thing is because Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton do appear to be playing themselves "Something's Gotta Give" has a very natural feel about it, something which you rarely see in most romantic comedies.
I do have one problem with the casting and it's not with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton basically playing himself, but that of Keanu Reeves playing Dr. Julian Mercer. Firstly the character felt like it had been pulled from some TV medical drama and so was not in the least bit convincing. But everything Reeves did came over as utterly cheesy, to the point where I wanted to smack him in the face. Reeves in my opinion is a seriously talented actor who is capable of greater performances than this and to watch him basically smile and deliver dialogue which is banal at its best really lets "Something's Gotta Give" down.
What is apparent is that writer/director Nancy Meyers had a message to deliver with "Something's Gotta Give" and she succeeds, maybe at times a little too obviously but she proves a point about the attractiveness of older actresses and actors. With this point in mind I applaud Diane Keaton for going naked in "Something's Gotta Give" as she proves just in that split second that being old does not mean you lose your sex appeal. As for Jack Nicholson doing the equivalent of showing his naked butt, well it's a very funny scene although quite obvious the minute you see him stumbling around in a medical gown.
What this all boils down to is that ignoring the over long ending and the fact that Keanu Reeves delivers a huge slice of cheese, "Something's Gotta Give" is a very enjoyable movie which will not only appeal to an older generation but also to younger audiences who will find much merriment in numerous scenes.