Harry Sanborn is an aged music industry exec with a fondness for younger women like Marin, his latest trophy girlfriend. Things get a little awkward when Harry suffers a heart attack at the home of Marin's mother Erica. Left in the care of Erica and his doctor, a love triangle starts to take shape.Written by
When Erica and Harry walk the beach, on the way back to house, in the shot just before the one when they stop in front of stairs, we can see that they've already passed the stairs, which are almost 20 yard behind them, in far distance. Suddenly, they are standing in front of them again. See more »
Diane Keaton can't cry. In Something's Gotta Give, there is a period where she has to cry in brief scene after scene, and either she can't cry or the direction was very, very poor (I kind of think it was the latter). For me, her crying symbolizes everything that was bad about this movie. In the crying scenes, she just wails and wails - loudly. After awhile, it is supposed to be somewhat funny (I think), but it's really just kind of annoying. The crying is supposed to convey that she is getting over what is hurting her and channelling it into a more productive activity. But it just feels so disingenuous because of the brazen way it is portrayed. There is a way to get crying to be sad at first and then funny (see Broadcast News), but this ain't it. This crying is more like "Ooh, look. It's Diane Keaton trying to ball her eyes out."
And that's what's wrong with Something's Gotta Give. Most of the scenes feel fake and like obvious attempts to manufacture the emotions that the director/screenwriter is trying to elicit. The very final scene (and I'm not ruining anything here) is the perfect example. It's basically a scene with the main characters looking cute and funny while music plays. Kodak moments to be sure, but they're manufactured Kodak moments.
Additionally, all of the major performances disappointed me. Jack Nicholson's character is barely introduced before he has a heart attack, and the story gets thrown into motion. We're supposed to believe that he's Joe Cool Sr. - hip and attractive to much younger women. We're supposed to believe that not because of how his character is developed, but because...well...because he's Jack Nicholson.
Diane Keaton wasn't particularly disappointing, because I've never been a big fan of hers, anyway. However, her character never seemed to be anchored to any particular way of being. It's the film's version of character development that her character evolves from an uptight recluse to a self-actualized, fully-empowered woman, but to me that transition was just too easy.
Amanda Peet, playing Keaton's daughter, gives a one note performance that, while consistent with the rest of the movie, relies more on her beauty than on substance to get the audience to care about her. She smiles a lot, and is very definitely easy on the eyes, but she's basically another pretty face. In a movie like this, which suggests that Jack dates young women because he sees them as merely pretty faces, it's almost criminal to not prove to the audience that Peet is anything but.
Finally, France McDormand, in a smaller role, seems to exist solely for the purpose of directly verbalizing the movie's thesis at the beginning of the movie. And we're supposed to respect her character's opinion - she's a professor. Her speech is another good example of the way this movie tries to get the message across - by telling the audience what the message is instead of showing it.
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