Something’s Gotta Give starring Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson & Keanu Reeves: How A Romantic Comedy Ought to Be
I’m a huge fan of writer/director Nancy Meyers. It started with What Women Want (starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt), a blast of a romantic comedy with fantasy elements. It’s one of my favorite romantic comedies of all time, though if I had to talk percentages that movie is 80% hilarity and 20% romance. Something’s Gotta Give is a bit more romantic, though the balance is probably more 60% comedy and 40% romance.
It’s safe to call Meyers a superstar when it comes to romcom writer/directors. She writes great stories, directs while remaining honest to her characters and casts A-listers. She usually rocks the box office too. Other star-clad and hilarious Nancy Meyers romcoms include It’s Complicated (with Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin) and The Holiday (with Jude Law, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet and Jack Black.) Both are recommended, though of these two, I prefer The Holiday. Something’s Gotta Give Premise: Erica Barry (Diane Keaton) is a beautiful, accomplished and divorced playwright with a house in the Hamptons. Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson) is a 60-something infamous rich bachelor with a reputation for not dating women over 30. Normally, these two would never meet.
But when Erica’s daughter Marin (Amanda Peet) brings Harry to her mother’s house for a weekend getaway, Erica also happens to be there with her sister Zoe (Frances McDormand), and hilarity ensues: Erica pretty much approves of nothing about him, and Zoe sees this as a fascinating opportunity to study the relationships of men and women, and why men tend to go for much younger women. Harry can’t wait to get out of there, but when he has a heart attack right before they can have sex, he is rushed to the nearest hospital where his doctor turns out to be the gorgeous, younger Julian (Keanu Reeves). All three women are pretty smitten by how nice and pretty he is, but he is taken by Erica, whose plays he is a fan of.
Harry is in a rush to go back to the city, but with his health at risk, Julian only allows him to stay at a nearby place for a couple of weeks, which to Erica’s horror, means her house. With everyone back to the city for work, she’s left alone with Harry, and quickly discovers he is a lot more fun, charming and intelligent than she gave him credit for. And to Harry’s dismay, she’s the most interesting and fun woman he has ever met. With a growing friendship and attraction, they will have to deal with their feelings for each other, as well as where Marin, Julian, and their outlooks on romance stand on all of this. After all, Harry doesn’t know how to be a boyfriend, and Julian is the ultimate catch. What does a woman have to do, especially with a play to write?
* Something’s Gotta Give is original, hilarious, honest and a little quirky. And if you pay attention, it’s also a fun, modern love story for any age. The movie makes astute observations on how we can’t help when, who or how we fall for, as well as what it means to be single (and dating) in the modern age of divorce and Internet. Of course if you want to get all cynical, you can call this movie superficial in many ways. Sure, there are health problems, but who doesn’t? Everybody is either rich, or making a decent living in NYC. Marin takes antidepressants because she’s an emotional “child” of divorce but her parents broke up when she was 23.
So apart from a couple of romantic and age-related health problems, everything is peachy. So if you do want a depressed outlook on life, go watch 21 Grams. It’s a very powerful, depressing and solid movie where no one is happy. And they deal with a lot of heavy stuff. If you want a more realistic romance where people aren’t rich, or all that healthy, watch Forget Me Not, which happens to be one of my favorite romances, by the way. It’s just not that light or optimistic. But if you are ready to dive into the typical (but extremely well-written) world of romantic comedy with a more dose of reality than most (Nicholson gets to lie on the gurney a lot, and being a lovely, smart person (Julian’s character) with brilliant looks doesn’t guarantee your happy ending) where the road to the happily-ever-after is just rocky (and funny) enough, don’t miss Something’s Gotta Give.
Fun Info About Cast and Movie:
– Diane Keaton was nominated for an Oscar for her role. She and Nicholson were nominated for Best Actress and Actor (in musical or comedy) at the Golden Globes; Diane won.
– The budget was 80 million, but the movie made$124,728,738 domestically, and a total of $266,728,738 (boxofficemojo.com.)
– You can download the screenplay at sellingyourscreenplay.com