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Something's Gotta Give: Review

Warner Brothers' Jack Nicholson - Diane Keaton starrer, "Something's Gotta Give", is delightful up to a point. The reason is pretty obvious. Writer-Director Nancy Meyers has an excellent actor in Nicholson, who is a 63-year-old bachelor with a glad-eye that is mercifully choosy. It focusses merely on under-30 women, women. who do not threaten our guy in any way, marriage included. 

Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson
But things cannot stay that way, can they ? Or, else, there can be no story. On what was to have been a romantic weekend in a beach house with gorgeous Amanda Peet, two episodes upsets Nicholson. Peet's writer-mother, Keaton, turns up with her sister, but then they decide that they ought to act like grown- ups and go about doing what they want to.

Nicholson gets ready after popping a Viagra, but a heart attack intervenes. Peet cannot manage that, her mother has to, and then begins a love story that gets a trite boring after sometime. But Keaton's performance -- that matches Nicholson's -- is a treat to watch, and "Something's Gotta Give" turns out to be a sophisticated, romantic comedy.

Even when a heartbroken Keaton cries after being dumped by Nicholson -- who says he can never be a boyfriend to any woman in a role that is powerfully understated -- the touch of mirth in these scenes adds to the actress's dignity and skill. In her misery, the audience -- including me -- found sheer humour. Was this cruel ? Maybe. But, this makes the film an absolute joy to watch.

However, Meyer's work does not really depart from a certain flat formula. Some of the jokes are too cliched, some of the scenes instead of sparkling with screwball effervescence splutter like a dying engine.

Peet has a lot of promise, but her role has been underwritten to a disappointing degree. We have Keanu Reeves as a young doctor smitten by a 50-plus Keaton, and Frances McDormand as the writer's sister. Both wasted, I would think, especially McDormand who is a great actress in her own right.

"Something's Gotta Give" ends with a predictable bang (or call it a whimper) in -- where else -- Paris. I wish Meyers would have been bolder to have scripted her movie away from the usual finishing point. She did not, and I am annoyed that an otherwise marvellous piece of celluloid went the way it did.

(Posted on this website on April 10 2004)

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