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Movie Review - Something's Gotta Give with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton (2003)

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This movie, “Something’s Gotta Give,” never gets old.  It is one of my all-time favorites.  It was written, produced, and directed by Nancy Meyers, who has achieved fame from a series of successful films including “The Parent Trap,” “Father of the Bride,” “The Holiday,” “It’s Complicated,” “What Women Want,” and “The Intern.”  This film takes on a subject not often treated - love among the elderly.  Diane Keaton was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and won the Golden Globe in the same category.  She and Jack Nicholson are often accused of playing their actual selves in this film, which is obvious to their fans.


Diane Keaton

                                                             Diane Keaton - Wikimedia


Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson) is 63 years old (Jack was actually 71 when he played this character).  Harry is wealthy, the owner of a Hip-Hop Record company, as well as ten other companies.  Never having married, he has always preferred to date girls under thirty years old.  He claims to have been engaged to Diane Sawyer at an earlier time.

Harry has been invited to spend the weekend at a beach house in the Hamptons by his latest under-30 girlfriend, Marin Barry (Amanda Peet), whose mother owns the house.  Marin’s mother, Erica (Diane Keaton) is a famous playwright who spends time in the Hamptons, working at her craft, and often using actual events to create her successful stories.

Erica and Harry Meet

When Erica and her sister Zoe (Frances McDormand) walk in the kitchen, they are shocked to see a man at the open refrigerator door, and they assume he is an intruder.  Harry quickly explained that he is a friend of Marin’s, and was invited to spend the weekend.  Erica and Zoe insisted that they would leave so that the two could have the place to themselves, but Marin and Harry agreed that they should stay.


Jack Nicholson

                                                             Jack Nicholson - Wikimedia

Harry Has a Heart Attack

Before long, Marin yelled to her mother that Harry was having a heart attack and they had to call a doctor.  He was taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital where he complained of having thirty minutes of chest pains.  Harry was thoroughly examined and cared for by Dr. Julian Mercer (Keanu Reeves), a handsome man, 36 years old.  Julian recognized Erica as a famous playwright whose work he had always admired.  The doctor prescribed rest and medication for Harry’s blocked artery.  Under the medication, Harry walked out into the hospital corridor, where Erica and Marin spotted him from the back with the hospital gown not covering his backside.  Harry had no place to go where he could be cared for; he was obliged to stay in the Hamptons, and Erica agreed to stay with him while he recuperated.

Erica Takes Care of Harry

Erica insisted that he could not smoke in the house.  The doctor would like him to be able to climb a flight of stairs before releasing him.  Harry discharged the nurse who was sent with him; he said she was not needed.

Harry asked Erica “What’s with the turtlenecks?  It’s the middle of summer.”  Erica said she was a turtleneck type of girl.  The next morning, Harry went looking for the kitchen and found himself in Erica’s bedroom where he caught her in the nude.  She screamed and he apologized, feeling sheepish. 

Dr. Mercer stopped by to check on his patient and asked Erica to have dinner with him that night.  He would pick her up at seven.

That afternoon, Harry and Erica took a walk on the beach where Harry noted that Erica only collected the white stones.  Erica asked him why he only dated young girls.  His answer was that he liked to travel light.  Erica mentioned that she was having dinner with Julian that evening.

Erica and Julian Have a Dinner Date

Julian arrived and he and Erica left the house for their dinner date.  Erica informed Julian that she was almost 20 years older than he was.  He was so charmed by Erica that the difference in their ages did not matter.


Keanu Reeves

                                                             Keanu Reeves - Wikimedia

The Pajama Party

When Erica returned home, Harry was waiting for her.  He said he spent the evening watching Joan Rivers selling jewelry.  They each got ready for bed and learned that they were both hungry.  Harry remarked that he always noticed that women never ate much on a first date.  Dressed in their night clothes, they joked that they were having a pajama party.  Marin walked in on them in the kitchen.

Marin told her mother that she was breaking up with Harry because he was too old for her.  She said Harry made it easy by breaking up with her first.  She surmised that her mother was attracted to Harry and told her “Try to think of this as the absolute smartest thing you’ve ever done for yourself.”

Julian called and asked Erica to have dinner with him again.

Erica and Harry Cozy Up

Erica and Harry had a picnic on the beach that afternoon when it started to rain.  The electricity went off in the house and they had to use candles.  They made love.  Erica was worried about Harry’s health and took his blood pressure.  It was regular at 120/80.  They continued on.  Erica forgot about her planned date with Julian.

They had breakfast by candlelight, once again in their robes.  They talked about their birthdays, and Erica said that they should spend their birthdays in Paris.  Before Harry left, feeling well enough to be on his home, Erica gifted him with a jar filled with black stones.

Marin’s Father Becomes Engaged

Marin informed her mother that her father was getting married to a 33-year-old woman.  “She’s three years older than me.”  Her father wanted to have dinner with his fiancé and Marin; Marin asked if her mother could come along.  He said “Of course.”  In the restaurant, Erica spotted Harry having dinner with a young girl.  She passed by Harry’s table as she left the restaurant and he followed her out.  He said he had made that date before he even met Erica.  He went to the hospital with what he believed was another heart attack; the doctor said it was a severe anxiety attack which can mask as a heart attack.


Amanda Peet

                                                               Amanda Peet - Wikimedia

Erica’s Play is a Success

Six months later, Erica Barry’s play “A Woman to Love,” was playing on Broadway.  (Harry had once told her she was “a woman to love.”)  He went to see the rehearsal and realized that much of the story was their story.  The “dancing Henrys” were men in hospital gowns with their backs uncovered.  The ending came when Henry died.  Harry was not pleased with the success of the play.

Erica Travels to Paris

Harry stopped off at Marin’s place.  He had grown a beard which was quite attractive.  Marin had been married and told Harry that she was pregnant.  He wondered if her mother would be interested in talking to him.  Marin said that Erica was in Paris for her birthday which was two days away.

Of course, Harry went to Paris and found Erica sitting alone in a Paris restaurant which they had talked about.  But soon, Julian came to the table and shook hands with Harry.  You must see the ending; it will not be given away here.


Nancy Meyers

                                                            Nancy Meyers - Wikimedia

Nora Ephron and Nancy Meyers

I often think of the late Nora Ephron when I see one of Nancy Meyers’ films.  She was another great female playwright, and Nancy Meyers is taking Nora Ephron’s place with her fantastic output in the ron-com genre (romantic comedies).  Another review of a Nancy Meyers film can be viewed here.  Meyers chose Hans Zimmer’s music for the soundtrack in both of these films.


Something's Gotta Give (Feature)
Amazon Price: $2.99 Buy Now
(price as of May 2, 2016)


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