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SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE

Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton are all that this mild lark has going for it, apart from some canniness at manipulating the well-worn levers and sticky springs of what these days passes for romantic comedy. Nicholson’s Harry Sanborn is the 63-year-old owner of the world’s second-largest hip-hop label. While visiting the bedroom of the latest of his many much-younger conquests, Christie’s auctioneer Marin (Amanda Peet), Harry suffers a mild heart attack; that leads to his becoming marooned in the beach house of Marin’s 50ish mother, Erica Barry (Keaton). The debt that this set-up owes to George S. Kaufman & Moss Hart’s 1930s Broadway farce The Man Who Came to Dinner is acknowledged in the dialogue, since we’re told that Erica is "the most successful female playwright since Lillian Hellman." 

From then on, it’s all about how Harry re-evaluates his life and achieves nirvana with Erica, despite her guardedness in matters of the heart and her acquiring a younger suitor in the form of Harry’s thirtysomething doctor, Julian Mercer (Keanu Reeves). Writer/director Nancy Meyers’s guiding of all this heavy machinery might fairly be called ruthless. (125 minutes)


Issue Date: December 12 - 18, 2003
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