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"Something's Gotta Give"

Directed by Nancy Meyers.
Written by Nancy Meyers. 
Starring Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves and Frances McDormand.
Release Year:  2003
Review Date:  12/17/03 


I was hangin’ out in Columbus last week with my friends Raymond and Liz Weeden, and Raymond dipped out so that Liz and I could go catch a flick.  Liz had a freebie to a preview showing of “Something’s Gotta Give”, and when the price is free, the Price is Right!

Free was key here, since I probably wouldn’t have wanted to drop big coin on this new romantic comedy.  Jack Nicholson plays Harry, the head of the second-biggest hip-hop label in America and purveyor of young skirt.  His current girl (Amanda Peet) takes him to her mother’s beach house outside of New York City for a weekend getaway...only to find that her mom Erica (Diane Keaton) and mom’s sister Zoe (Frances McDormand) are hangin’ out at the house instead.  Romantic hijinks ensue as Erica—who at first thinks Harry is a total dog—slowly warms to the charms of Harry as he recovers from a heart attack suffered while staying in the beach house.

After a slow start, “Something’s Gotta Give” becomes some of the funniest stuff I have seen this year.  Really, minutes 15 through about 50 are solid, AAA stuff.  Soon after one of the funniest sex scenes ever (truly instant classic material), the movie devolves into a predictable yet illogical formula film.  Through it all, Nicholson and Keaton are fantastic.  Keaton truly is radiant in many of her scenes, and when she walks out in a black dress before a date with a local doctor (Keanu Reeves), even I dropped a Keanu-like “whoa!” along with many other people in the audience.  Nicholson has many funny moments, from his droll delivery to a great scene where he is suddenly awakened and scrambles to compose himself after taking a snooze.  The man does physical comedy so well...and even though you see it in the preview, the bit where he accidentally sees Erica naked still made me laugh out loud.

But, as I said above, the midpoint of this film onward is the reason why I normally hate romantic comedies such as this...and why I still think “Love Actually” is my favorite of these kinds of films because it doesn’t swim in the pool of predictable, sappy horseshit.  Near the end, the script (written by director Nancy Meyers) gives us the opportunity to dig out of it all...and then, even a second chance...and then it goes straight Hollywood and I almost had to punch somebody, I was so irritated.  So angry.  Why can’t Hollywood actually try and turn this formula on its head to give us something, I dunno, realistic??  And, I think I speak for the people of our great country when I say...isn’t Frances McDormand an Oscar winner?  How is it, then, that she disappears for about an hour in the middle of the film?  Her scenes are special when she is around, and then poof!  It’s like Meyers forgot how funny McDormand (she won for “Fargo”) can be.

Solid for $7, maybe even better for Netflix, since there is nothing greatly cinematic about the experience.

Rating:  Matinee


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09