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For more movie summaries, see Kam's Kapsules.

(Photo by Bob Marshak)

photo caption:
SOMETHINGS HAS GIVEN: Harry (Jack Nicholson, left) enjoys a picnic in the Hamptons while being nursed back to health by Erica (Diane Keaton).end caption.


When a Womanizer Finally Falls in Love, "Something's Gotta Give"

Review by Kam WIlliams

Confirmed bachelor Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson) is a multi-millionaire corporate magnate who owns publishing, Internet, and rap music empires. The 63-year-old tycoon is also an inveterate ladies man who lavishes as much attention on the bevy of much-younger beauties he beds as he does on his successful enterprises.

However, everything changes for the playboy when he has a heart attack while indulging his libido with his latest conquest, Marin (Amanda Peet), an attractive associate at Christie's Auction House. He becomes ill during a weekend fling at her mother's (Diane Keaton) beach house in the Hamptons. Plenty of unexpected sparks start to fly when Marin's workaholic mom, Erica, finds herself saddled with having to nurse her uninvited houseguest back to health with a little TLC.

Will the cardiac patient finally settle down with the post-menopausal Broadway playwright who is an attractive divorc=E9e of appropriate age? Will well-respected Erica allow herself to fall for the crude, womanizing lech who's been dating her daughter? Or will she instead entertain the overtures of the relatively refined, solicitous young doctor (Keanu Reeves) who arrives to attend to Harry? And will Marin fight for the affection of her sickly Sugar Daddy, or will she dutifully defer to her mother's designs on her man? What a love quadrangle!

Obviously, when a plot rests on such a prickly premise, something's gotta give, hence the self-explanatory title for this romantic comedy written and directed by Nancy Meyers. The Oscar-nominated Meyers (for Private Benjamin), is best known as the better half of the husband and wife team of Meyers and Shyer. Her ex-husband, Charles Shyer, started out as the head-writer for TV's The Odd Couple, before collaborating with his spouse on a dozen feature films.

Among the many hits the pair produced together were Private Benjamin (1980), Baby Boom (1987), and Father of the Bride (1991). Unfortunately, they separated in 1998 after they made The Parent Trap. On her own, Meyers has already directed a $200 million chick flick in What Women Want (2000) and now has another blockbuster with Something's Gotta Give.

Credit gos to a trio of very likable Oscar-winners, Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, and Frances McDormand, for managing to elevate Meyer's semi-autobiographical script to the level of sophisticated material bordering on first-rate entertainment. In less talented hands, the movie would essentially be exposed as an overblown, overextended, television sitcom masquerading as a pretentious melodrama. However, all three deliver endearing performances, in the process overshadowing the wanting work of the terminally-wooden Keanu Reeves and the Barbie doll delivery of Amanda Peet.

The impressive Nicholson is endearing as a suddenly vulnerable lout who is surprised to find himself fall in love for the first time. He handles both his romantic overtures and his witty punchlines with such aplomb, that the production never sounds a false note. The frenetic Keaton is next best, although her giggly, addlepated Annie Hall act goes from ingratiating to just plain grating by the film's final act.

McDormand plays her younger sister, while Paul Michael Glaser (Starsky of TV's Starsky and Hutch) appears as the ex-husband on good enough terms to still produce his wife's plays. Set in New York, but shot mostly on lots in Hollywood, the movie offers just enough Manhattan and Long Island locations to look authentic. All is augmented by a soulful soundtrack of R & B oldies designed to tug at your heartstrings.

Vintage Nicholson and Keaton, like fine wines, improve with age.

Very Good (3 stars). Rated PG-13 for nudity, sex content, and some salty language.

end of review.

For more movie summaries, see Kam's Kapsules.


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