Monday, June 01, 2009

5/26/09: Something's Gotta Give (2003)

Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton are paired up in Something's Gotta Give, a hopelessly contrived, embarrassingly corny, purely by-the-numbers, excruciatingly predictable—and, yes, totally charming—romantic comedy.

The plot couldn't be simpler: Nicholson (66 years old at the time of release) is dating perky young Amanda Peet, then slowly comes to find he's falling in love with her more age-appropriate mother (Keaton, 57). Even though I felt like I'd seen this film a dozen times before—and done better—it's still confoundingly entertaining and nearly impossible to dislike, all thanks to the boundless appeal of its two soon-to-be-crotchety stars. Jack plays his usual horndog character (when he announces that he isn't good at being monogamous, you're not exactly reeling from the shock), but with a dash more heart and soul. And Keaton couldn't be more perfect for her role as a woman who initially resents Jack but, like many a lass before her, winds up succumbing to his devilish grin.

All of the usual romcom elements are present and accounted for, including conflicts and complications you can see coming 20 minutes before they happen...but there's something to be said for predictability, and the movie feels like a comfortable, well-worn pair of shoes. Something's Gotta Give only veers into awfulness once, during an extended sequence that calls for Keaton to sob incessantly and annoyingly (Jesus, was I delighted when that scene ended). Conversely, the scene where Jack and Diane spend their first night together is funny, moving and unforgettable. The question of whether Nicholson would eventually win the girl was moot, as this was Merf's recommendation—I knew it would have the required happy ending. But I can't blame her for shattering any suspense; anybody watching this movie knows exactly how it's going to end about halfway through. The film goes down smooth and easy, like a nice, cold, familiar-tasting mug of root beer, and leaves you thirsty for more. Rating: 4/5.

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