Something's Gotta Give

***

Reviewed by: David Haviland

Something's Gotta Give
"The film steers clear of clichés."

Jack Nicholson plays Harry, a 63-year-old bachelor, celebrated in magazine articles as "The Escape Artist" for his ongoing success in escaping "the noose."

He has a policy of only dating women under 30, but things start to go wrong on a romantic weekend with his current squeeze, Marin (Amanda Peet). First, Marin's mother, Erica (Diane Keaton), arrives. Then, he has a heart attack, when attempting to consummate the relationship. Finally, and most worringly, he starts to fall for Erica, a woman his own age.

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It's refreshing to see a December to December romance onscreen, even if the leads are unfeasibly attractive, and the film generates a lot of funny moments from the premise, such as when Erica has to take Harry's blood pressure before sex. Nicholson and Keaton are utterly charming and you can see why their chemistry has led to rumours of romance, and even marriage, although the pair claim to be just good friends.

Another appealing aspect is the way the film steers clear of clichés. Harry and Erica flirt and coo like children, and research each other on the internet. They are the story's most sexual and desired characters.

There's nudity too, but, unlike in About Schmidt, it's neither comic, nor brave. The old people are chased rather than chaste. Keaton looks fantastic, to the extent that when Keanu Reeves's charming doctor persistently pursues her, we're not in the least surprised.

Something's Gotta Give is very enjoyable, but doesn't quite hit the highs of As Good As It Gets. This is partly because it's lacking credibility. If we believe Harry is dating troupes of supermodels in his role as a wealthy hiphop producer, then we're not likely to believe that Erica has been left on the shelf.

The other issue is that there's not enough to prevent them getting together. In As Good As It Gets, Nicholson is intolerably rude and, as a result, great to watch. Here, he's selfish and a bit primitive, but essentially quite charming.

Besides which, would any woman really consider Nicholson over Reeves these days?

Reviewed on: 29 Jan 2004
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Something's Gotta Give packshot
An ageing lothario gets caught out when he falls for a woman closer to his own age than his usual conquests.
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Angus Wolfe Murray **1/2

Director: Nancy Meyers

Writer: Nancy Meyers

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Frances McDormand, Keanu Reeves, Amanda Peet, Jon Favreau, Paul Michael Glaser, Rachel Ticotin

Year: 2003

Runtime: 128 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US

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If you like this, try:

About Schmidt
As Good As It Gets