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SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves, Frances McDormand, Amanda Peet, Jon Favreau
Director: Nancy Meyers
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: See Review
Length: 128 Minutes
Release Date: March 30, 2004

"I've never seen a woman that age naked before."

"You're kidding."

"Hey, we're not all doctors, baby."

Film ***

It's fun to watch a real life suave slickster like Jack Nicholson portray a character that isn't too far from the real Jack Nicholson. Apart from his legendary acting career, Nicholson is known for dating much younger women, something his character in Something's Gotta Give enjoys doing very much. For Nicholson, having just come off an impressive hot-wired comedic turn in Anger Management, this is a much more restrained performance in a comedy that is more subtle than the aforementioned Adam Sandler collaboration, even though it's not as entirely successful. For what it's worth, the movie is worth seeing for the memorable chemistry between the lead actors.

Jack plays Harry Sanborn, an aging music executive who's been going through younger women like a file cabinet for the past forty years. His current fling is with that of young Marin Barry (Amanda Peet). The two are about to enjoy a weekend at Marin's mother's home in the Hamptons, under the impression that she isn't in town. Much to their surprise, she is in town. In fact she walks in just as the two are about to enjoy some quality time.

The mother, Erica Barry (Diane Keaton), at first takes Harry for an intruder, so when her daughter reveals that they are dating; she is both relieved and slightly shocked. She, along with her sister, Zoe (Frances McDormand), ends up welcoming Harry to a foursome gathering. The weekend hits a sour note, on Harry's part, when he encounters chest pains just as he's about to get intimate with the daughter. He is then rushed to the hospital.

After several tests, Harry's doctor, Julian Mercer (Keanu Reeves), requests that he recover through bed resting, which he will need to do in Erica's guest room. The young doctor also becomes nothing short of attracted to the older Erica. She's a playwright who's written many successful Broadway plays, each of which Julian, a huge fan of her work, claims to have seen.

Julian insists on starting a fling with her, which she accepts with some reservations. As she watches over, and gets to know, Harry, Erica discovers two things; she may have fallen deeply in love with the most unlikely candidate, and that the agonizing pain she is enduring as a result may make for a wonderful play concept. The result is a memorable comic performance from the radiant Ms. Keaton.

In the realm of the romantic comedy, one genre I've never been too big on, Something's Gotta Give is smarter than your average conventional sort. The characters are more believable and honest, and are given a lot more time to reveal themselves. Writer/director Nancy Meyers (What Women Want) knows the genre quite well, and her ability to create strong and memorable characters in a genre that is usually deprived of such is quite remarkable.

Enlightened by the chemistry between Jack and Diane, Something's Gotta Give is a witty and charming comedy which also happens to be strong and honest in regards to its characters. The film delivers an equal dose of romance and huge, huge laughs including individual moments where both aging stars endure some embarrassing, and riotous, nude shots. Diane's moment is indeed the howler of the film.

Video ****

Columbia Tri Star soars, once again, with another solid, clear-as-a-bell anamorphic presentation. The image consists of nothing but all the positives we DVD lovers come to expect. The picture quality is of pure sharpness and incredible detail, making good use of the many scenes shot in the Hamptons. Colors are as wonderfully vibrant as one could ask for. The proper elements are all mixed in here to make for a much grand viewing.

Audio ***

The movie is a straightforward romantic comedy, meaning that is powered by words than by anything in the technical department. But that doesn't mean that this 5.1 is out steam, at all. In addition to dialogue delivery being top-notch, the movie's various offerings of music play through the channels in strong clarity. In other words, as good as a movie of this sort can get in the format.

Features ***

The highlight of the features offered on this disc are the two commentary tracks supplied here, each of which includes a rare guest speaker.  The first features writer/director Nancy Meyers, producer Bruce Block and Diane Keaton. The second includes Myers and Jack Nicholson. As you all know, the commentary Jack provided for As Good As it Gets was a memorable one, so it goes without saying that having the chance to hear him once again is something of an event.

In addition, the commentaries save the disc from being slapped with a lower rating. In addition, there is a deleted scene where Harry sings to Erica, a Hamptons house tour with Amanda Peet, cast and crew filmographies and a trailer gallery, featuring trailers for this and the following films: 13 Going on 30, Anger Management, As Good As it Gets, Big Fish, The Company, Spider-Man 2, Sleepless in Seattle, and Secret Window.

Summary:

With the charm and wit of its stars and the honesty of the characters in the script, Something's Gotta Give is a notch or two above the standard and conventional gooey romantic comedy fare. It's not often you get to see someone like Jack Nicholson poke fun at his very own public persona, which alone is a reason to check it out.