out of Five
Running time: 120
Something’s Gotta Give is the latest romantic comedy by writer-director Nancy Meyers, who gave us the sight of Mel Gibson doing a dance with a hat in What Women Want. Thankfully, Something’s Gotta Give is a much more mature romantic comedy, in more ways than one.
Jack Nicholson plays Harry Sanborn, a successful music producer and
perennial playboy who has a reputation for never dating anyone over 30 - the part was written with Nicholson in mind so this isn't exactly a coincidence. When a planned romantic weekend in the Hamptons with his latest squeeze Marin (Amanda Peet) is scuppered by a heart ‘episode’, Harry ends up being nursed back to health by Marin's neurotic mother, Erica Barry (Diane Keaton) and – surprise - finds himself falling for what the press notes laughably refer to as an "age-appropriate woman" for the first time in his life.
However, Harry has competition in the form of Doctor Keanu Reeves (stop
laughing at the back, there), who also starts to pursue Erica. (Little
Britain has a lot to answer for – try watching Keanu wooing Keaton without thinking of David Walliams and the granny).
It’s extremely well acted. Nicholson, unsurprisingly, is excellent, gamely sending up his own image as an ageing lothario, particularly during the hospital scenes where they ask if he's taken Viagra. Keaton, however, is even better – she looks terrific and they have surprisingly strong chemistry together.
However, if you’re still recovering from seeing Kathy Bates in the hot tub in About Schmidt, then be warned: both Nicholson and Keaton have nude scenes - Nicholson when his arse falls out of his hospital gown and Keaton when Nicholson accidentally sees her naked (a misjudged scene that’s played too heavily for laughs and backfires).
The biggest surprise is that Keanu is actually pretty good, despite the fact that he's cast as a doctor with a great love of literature. It’s his most relaxed performance to date. There’s also good support from both Amanda Peet and Frances McDormand, though she's criminally wasted – despite being the funniest character - and only appears in about 5 scenes.
It's a little too long for a romantic comedy, but it works pretty well,
despite several recycled ideas (Erica's a blocked playwright, so it's not hard to see what her next play will be about) and a script in which everyone says exactly what they're thinking, ALL THE TIME, except, ironically, in the Instant Messenger scenes. For the most part, though, it's like the subtitle scene in Annie Hall, in reverse.
Overall, this is decently acted and delivers nicely in terms of both romance and comedy, so worth seeing if you like this sort of thing. There are also Oscar rumours surrounding Keaton’s performance, though she’s up against some stiff competition this year.