TNMC (US), November 4, 2003
Something's Gotta Give Script Review
One of the most memorable acting icons of my youth was Jack Nicholson. I first saw him in Batman. Very rarely in history has such a villain commanded the screen like Jack. The next brilliant encounter was A Few Good Men. Another show-stealing feat from him. Finally, my favorite performance of Jack was in James L. Brooks' As Good As It Gets. That film still ranks in my top fifteen of all-time and Jack was the cornerstone of that wonderful movie. I still am a very big fan of him. I adored the screenplay for About Schmidt. Both that film and Anger Management were good roles for Jack. He picked Something's Gotta Give, a dramatic comedy, written by Nancy Meyers (What Women Want) as his next project. It took me six months to finally grab that script.
Ahhhh... The Sweet, uncomplicated satisfaction of the younger woman. That fleeting age when everything just falls into place. It's magic time and it can render any man, anywhere -- absolutely helpless. Some say I'm an expert on The Younger woman. Guess that's 'cause I've been dating them for over forty years...
Hardcore womanizer Harry Langer (Jack Nicholson) lives by only one rule: Never date a woman that's older then 30. His latest girlfriend Marin (Amanda Peet) brings him over to her family's Hampton residence. When her divorced mother Erica (Diane Keaton) and aunt Zoe (Frances McDormand) show up unexpectedly, the four of them are forced to co-exist for the weekend. Harry suffers a mild heart attack and has to recuperate at the Hampton residence. Erica is unwillingly forced to help him. Harry slowly starts falling for Erica, even though he's breaking his own rule. But wait, it turns into a love triangle because Erica is being courted by the younger and cuter Dr. Justin Mercer (Keanu Reeves), who saved Harry's life. Who will she pick?
Without any doubts, it's one of the best screenplays I've read this year. I liked Meyer's last film, What Women Want. It didn't win me over too much but I thought it was decent. This script is a serious improvement on that film. Nancy Meyers is probably one of the most exciting female voices I've heard in a longtime. We need more great writers like her. One of the things I loved about this script is how real it sounded. That genre has been filled with over-the-top ideas and stories lately. But this flawless tale is grounded really deeply into reality. There's some spectacular moments in Something's Gotta Give that makes you wonder how much it was taken from the writer's life. For the record, Ms Meyers is divorced like her lead character Erica. What percentage of her life experience did she put into this story? I'm extremely curious about that. Finally, I simply love the conclusion of this movie. It takes place in Paris (which I adore) and it just feels like pure perfection.
So can I ask you something Harry? What's with all the young girls? I mean, what's the story there, really?
I just like to travel light.
Jack is the man. This is another GREAT role for him. I keep wondering, how can so many writers invent these colorful and incredible characters for him. He barely needs to act with writing like this. I watched As Good As It Gets again shortly after reading this screenplay. I could only imagine how magnificent he will be. He's on a roll.
Okay, here's the thing. I really don't want to play the part of the uptight Nurse to your bad boy patient. If you want to have another heart attack, go ahead, it's your life but I have work to do and I don't have time to make another run to the hospital because you're filling your already clogged arteries with smoke but more importantly, I'd rather not have my house smell like a pool hall.
Nancy Meyers wrote a superb role for Diane Keaton. She's been very under the radar since 1996's The First Wives Club. I believe this role will bring her back into the forefront of her acting peers. The trailer showcased a new look for her and she looks gorgeous. She would be the perfect choice to play the mother of Ashton Kutcher in Cameron Crowe's Elisabethtown.
No, come on, listen, here's the rub for women. Look at what we have here with you and Erica. Harry, you've been around the block a few times. right? You're what? Around 60, never been married, which, we all know, if you were a woman, would be a curse, you'd be an old maid, a spinster, blah, blah, blah... Okay, so instead of pitying you, they write articles about you, celebrate you never marrying, it makes you illusive and ungettable. You're a real catch...
My favorite supporting role in this picture is played by Frances McDormand. She's going to steal the limelight from everybody in this movie. She has an exquisite speech at the dinner table early on. It will have everybody rolling in the aisles. Probably the hardest thing to imagine for this film is Keanu Reeves playing a doctor. I'm one of his greatest fans but he looks nothing like a physician. But his character serves a purpose and judging from the trailer, it looks like it works. Amanda Peet has a first-rate part that could take her career one step further. If she can nail that character perfectly it could probably make her a future female A-lister.
I seriously believe Nancy Meyers has a shot at breaking her own record for highest grossing film directed by a woman. This film will be HUGE. It will have a strong opening weekend but the word of mouth will have it showing its legs well into Valentine's Day. It's also a strong contender for the Golden Globes' Best Comedy too. If the trailer is any indication, it's going to be a riot. It's another movie to really look forward to in December.
That's all folks...