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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Pure Fantasy
by Betty Jo Tucker

Talk about suspension of disbelief! Something's Gotta Give tried to convince me that Diane Keaton's character would fall for Jack Nicholson's over-the-hill playboy instead of the "gorgeous, wholesome doctor" played by Keanu Reeves. No way. And that's what spoiled this eagerly-awaited movie for shallow me.   

Still, because films about older men dating much younger women have been done so often, it was refreshing to see the tables turned in this romantic comedy. And I can't think of anyone better than Nicholson to portray the 63-year-old confirmed bachelor. Smirking and leering as only he can, this veteran actor is perfectly cast as Harry Langer, a man who claims he's been dating only women under 30 for over 40 years. When he finally meets his match -- a woman in her fifties and the mother of one of his girlfriends (Amanda Peet), he suspects he's found his soul mate, but it's not easy to change the habits of a lifetime.

The "soul mate" in question happens to be Erica Barry (Keaton), a successful playwright who's comfortable with her single, divorced state. After suffering a heart attack, Harry stays in Erica's house while he recuperates. Because Erica lives near the hospital where Harry's physician (Reeves) treats his patients, it's convenient for house calls. Already a fan of Erica's plays, the good doctor develops a crush on her -- and Erica blooms under all this attention from two very different guys. Surprisingly, it's the terrific chemistry between Keaton and Reeves, not between Keaton and Nicholson, that sizzles onscreen here -- which makes Erica's love for Nicholson's unsympathetic character seem even more unbelievable.

When Erica finds out about Harry's inability to commit and his continued involvement with younger women, she gets her revenge by writing a play about him. (Note to self: remember to treat writer friends well.) I have no idea how she finished that play. She seemed too busy crying and yelling while working on it.

I wanted to yell a few times myself while watching this flick. It not only misuses Oscar-winner Frances McDormand (Fargo) in a miniscule role but also includes too much repetition, too many shots of Nicholson being rushed to the hospital, and too much dilly-dallying during the last few scenes. I've already complained about Erica falling for Harry and not for the doctor, but that doesn't mean she ends up with Harry. It takes forever to find out who really gets the girl -- er, woman.

Written and directed by Nancy Meyers (What Women Want), this film might be the longest romantic comedy on record. Granted, it's almost saved by entertaining performances from Keaton, Nicholson and Reeves. However, if you've seen the previews, you've already watched the best parts of Something's Gotta Give.                      

(Released by Sony Pictures Entertainment and rated "PG-13"' for  sexual content, brief nudity and strong language.)

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