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Something's Gotta Give

Something's Gotta Give

Total Film

March 2004

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Director Nancy Meyers
Starring Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves, Amanda Peet
Cert 12A

Rating ****

Most days, we'd go and see a Jack Nicholson movie if it involved nothing but a bare stage, a phone book and Jack in his reading glasses, starting with `A'.

Apart from the forgivable blunder of Anger Management, Nicholson's eye for material - - unlike his tabloid-tailored, bad-boy behaviour - - isn't diminishing with age, and with the oldie rom-com Something's Gotta Give he lends his prodigious talents to another worthy vehicle. Sending up his own public persona as an unrepentant ladies' man, Nicholson is fighting fit and smacking his lips at every chunk of scenery that writer/director Nancy Meyers throws his way. With her previous war-of-the-sexes comedy What Women Want, Meyers riffed on chauvinist men threatened by powerful women - and she also has plenty of scope for humour here, exploring both sides of the OAP-dating-younger-member-of-the-opposite-sex divide.

But this is no solo showcase for Mr Jack. Matching him quip for quip is Diane Keaton, who gets to show off what a gifted comic actress she is (her crying jag over one bust-up vies with Nicholson's exposed-arse-in-hospital-gown promenade as the movie's funniest scene). As an actress of a certain age, Keaton's suffered at the hands of Hollywood ageism, but Something sets out to up-end a pair of industry myths: that middle-aged actresses can't be sexy; and that all rom-coms must feature nubile youth. Depicted as the funkiest fiftysomething ever, you'll totally buy it when Nicholson and Keanu Reeves (achieving a level of charm usually beyond his grasp) become rivals for her affections.

Yes, this is rom-com at its most formulaic, the whole plot hinging on Harry's recuperation at Erica's house, despite their initial dislike. But Meyers knows how to keep it the right side of spiky, while Jack and Diane spark off each other with punchy pleasure. It's just a shame the awful title won't help it cross the generation gap...

Nancy Meyers' rom-com could strike a chord with moviegoers thanks to Jack and Diane's classy partnership. Be sure to get past the age barrier.

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