Cast: Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves, Amanda Peet, Frances McDormand
An enjoyable, feel-good movie in the 'Sleepless in Seattle' genre, Something's Gotta Give follows the age-old 'boy meets/loses/regains girl' formula - but with one main difference; the 'boy' is Harry Sanborn (Nicholson) an ageing and shallow playboy who seemingly has only one aim in life - seducing beautiful young woman. And the 'girl' is Erica Berry (Keaton), a divorced, 50-something successful writer with a non-existent love life. While Erica's youthful love-interest (Reeves) and her lovely daughter (Peet) remain mostly in the background providing pretty props for Harry and Erica, who steal the show with witty asides and sly, side-ling glances - behaviour one would not normally associate with middle-aged people... but why not? Love and sexual attraction doesn't end at 40, as this film sets out to prove.
As one would expect with Oscar nominees of Nicholson's and Keaton's calibre, there is strong on-screen chemistry between the two main characters, which is further enforced by a clever script. There are laughter lines and grey hairs a-plenty, plus a dickey heart and viagra, thrown in for good measure. But this does nothing to spoil the viewer's belief that, despite their advancing years, these two really could get it together!
The story begins when Marin (Peet) brings her wealthy, but elderly, boyfriend Harry back to her mother's beach house (and what a beach house!), for what he obviously hopes will be a 'dirty weekend'. But her mom and aunt (McDormand) arrive back in time to put paid to any such ideas.
Put out by mom's presence and not in the best of health, thanks to a decedent lifestyle, Harry suddenly suffers a heart attack, and it falls upon the reluctant Erica to play nursemaid to him. It is during this enforced togetherness that we see their attitudes about each other begin to slowly change. And both of them seem genuinely surprised when they end up in bed together.
But it is a relationship that doesn't quite know which direction to take, and a handsome young doctor (Reeves) is quicker than Harry to recognise Erica's attributes and starts to court her.
Harry moves on - in body, if not in mind - as he tries to return to his normal routine. But it doesn't prove as easy forgetting Erica as he had at first thought. Meanwhile, Erica is busy venting her mixed-up emotions on paper and Harry becomes the focal figure in a play about their romance.
The play becomes a huge hit for Erica, and she appears to be coping well with Harry's absence from her life till he turns up at the play, angry at having become the laughing stock of the theatre world. Erica denies that Henry (the central character), is actually Harry, and admits that he's killed off at the end of the play as it's "funnier!". An indignant Harry exits her life for a second time.
We move forward, but Harry can't. And it is in a restaurant in Paris where they meet up again. Erica is on birthday trip they planned in bed, way back. But she's not alone, as Harry had hoped. It all becomes too much for him and he leaves the restaurant a broken man. Erica quickly comes to the rescue...
Directed by Nancy Meyer, who also wrote the story with the two leading actors in mind. Nicholson, a notorious womaniser himself, is cast to perfection, with none of his genius of facial expression missed. And Keaton's gentle warmth, with an appealing mixture of maturity and vulnerability, makes her his perfect co-star. Together, they soon have you seeing past the crinkles and silver hair to believe that it really is possible for an arrogant and selfish batchelor to be redeemed by love. In the end, something's gotta give... and it does, with style!
Beautifully filmed and accompanied by some delightful French melodies, this film is a must for all die-hard romantics, young and old!
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