Something's Gotta Give 

Genre: Romantic comedy for your parents

The pitch: Jack Nicholson plays a celebrity bachelor who only dates women under 30, but falls for the fiftysomething mother (Diane Keaton) of his latest conquest-to-be (Amanda Peet). Jack must have been researching the role for decades by dating Lara Flynn Boyle and other junior hotties.

Flesh factor: Hospitalized for chest pains, a druggy Jack reveals his hind end several times in a hospital gown. A little bit later, Jack accidentally sees Diane in the altogether, and though its just a glimpse of nipple and flailing arms covering everything else, Diane gets this year's Kathy Bates Award for naked valor.

Fashion statements: Diane's white turtlenecks represent her emotional armor, until she asks Jack to literally tear one off and reveal the tasteful bra underneath. Peet's lacy white bustier and black bikini lets the film spurn its cheesecake and ogle it, too. Diane dons a foxy black dress for her date with a younger doctor (Keanu Reeves). After his change of pace with About Schmidt, Jack's back to his old self, so sunglasses are never far away.

Product placement: With great reluctance, Jack admits to his doctors that he takes Viagra. Diane writes her plays on an iMac and flirts via e-mail with Jack -- but will he instant-message his true feelings for her?

Pop references: When health problems force Jack to move in with Diane, she compares the situation to a Kaufman and Hart play, which is writer-director Nancy Meyers noting the film's debt to The Man Who Came to Dinner. Diane eventually writes a play about her experiences and changes the ending, turning the tables on Woody Allen and the end of Annie Hall. And there's the whole "Jack and Diane" thing.

Hit single: Paul Simon's "Learn How To Fly" plays prominently at the finale, but only serious Jack fans should stay through the credits to hear his tres smug crooning of "La Vie En Rose."

Best line: "I have always told you some version of the truth," Jack tells Diane during the endless, drawn-out third-act complications. It's also funny when Diane wonders if "I love ya" is the same as "I love you."

The bottom line: When Jack and Diane put aside the script's opposites-attract contrivances, they're irresistibly charming. With its appreciation of older women, Something's Gotta Give has its heart in the right place, but as the plot meanders for more than two hours, the thing that's gotta give is our patience.


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Recent Comments

  • Re: Fresh air

    • Local band Manchester Orchestra, who provided the soundtrack, probably would have appreciated a shout-out.

    • on June 29, 2016
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