Something's Gotta Give: A romance for adults

Jan. 1, 2004, midnight | By Yicong Liu | 17 years ago

The prince meets the princess. They fall desperately in love. Then there's the kiss – and now you have the Disney version of any fairy tale love story. The end.

Thankfully, Something's Gotta Give doesn't follow this formula. But it may have ended better at the kiss. Instead, Something's Gotta Give drags on for another hour of turmoil where the prince and princess, baffled and emotionally distraught, skirt around what should be and obviously will be a solid relationship. Worse yet, they've already kissed and gone far past that. It leaves the audience thinking, We want to see them together already!

Nonetheless, the start of the movie is charming and amusing, a refreshing look at relationships. Speaking of which, there are quite a few odd, unconventional relationships that take a bit of getting used to. Something's Gotta Give pushes age gaps in romance to the limit. First you have the love scenes between Marin (Amanda Peet), young, spirited woman in her twenties and Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson), the successful, suave playboy who, though over 60 himself, only dates women under 30. Fittingly, their relationship is motivated by sexual desires and lacks any real affection. Then you have another attraction brewing between Julian Mercer (Keanu Reeves), a good-looking, young doctor and Erica Barry (Diane Keaton), a famous playwright who is well in her 50s. Oh, the irony. Reeves and Barry actually have on-screen chemistry, which is surprising considering their age difference. The true sparks fly though (as well as some competition) when one age pair is finally matched up: Erica and Harry.

And falling for each other was something they had both least expected. Erica is an independent, confident and competent woman who has gone through a painful divorce and is content with living a life without passion. She wears turtle necks even in the middle of summer which reflects her uptight behavior. (This fact Harry kindly points out in one of their first intimate encounters.) As for Harry, he is the lustful playboy for whom commitment has no concept in his repertoire.

Yet there are deeper sides to both Erica and Harry that feed the growing flame between the two. Harry has his ability to see and understand many intimacies of both life and women and Erica. The dynamic between them is astounding. The movie's somewhat overly cute, sappy dialogue is quite pleasant when voiced by Keaton and Nicholson as they face off in their love battle.

When it comes to a romantic comedy, sometimes it's the little things that really impress an audience. Fortunately, Something's Gotta Give is filled with these little enjoyable tidbits. One stroke of genius occurs when Erica, hysterical and emotionally wrecked after seeing Harry with another woman, zips away on her laptop, adding the finishing touches to her latest play. The result is a masterpiece that hits Broadway with equal impact: a poignant, almost identical rendition of her experience with Harry. There's only a slight modification revealed to the audience. The names are different. (Emily and Henry)

Overall, this movie is great for a mature audience. Despite the disappointing second half that could have been cut, Something's Gotta Give possesses a certain depth. It is exceptionally refreshing, because it features an elderly couple unlike the young, gorgeous couples featured in many teenage, guilty, chick-flick movies. One message is clear. Love transcends age in all ways. (There is all that good stuff after 50.) May sound idealistic but, hey, at least it's worked for Erica and Harry. It could work for others.

Something's Gotta Give is rated PG-13 - for sexual content, brief nudity, and strong language.

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Yicong Liu. Yicong Liu is a junior in the magnet program at Blair high school. She enjoys the many (I mean many) wonderful things in life, but mostly the fundamentals: food, sleep and fun. During the hectic school week, Yicong can be found staring at her computer … More »

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