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Something's Gotta Give
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie is at the R-end of the PG-13 range, with very strong language, brief full frontal nudity and a bare behind, and explicit sexual references and situations. There are jokes about Viagra and menopause. In other words, this is a "grown-up" movie in subject matter and treatment. Characters smoke and drink and one gets tipsy. There are some tense situations.
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What's the story?
SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE centers on Erica (Diane Keaton), a successful playwright with a beautiful house in the Hamptons. She is self-sufficient, or, as Harry (Jack Nicholson) says, she is flinty, impervious, and formidable. Harry, who only dates women under 30, is seeing Erica's daughter Marin (Amanda Peet). But as they start to have sex for the first time, at Erica's house, Harry has a minor heart attack. And when he gets out of the hospital but is not able to go back home, he ends up moving in with Erica. She turns out to be the kind of flinty that sets off some sparks, not just with Harry but also with Julian (Keanu Reeves), his doctor. Erica and Harry have a lot in common, beyond being from the same generation and needing reading glasses. They both stay up very late and sleep very little. They both hide their sensitive souls and protect their vulnerable hearts.
Is it any good?
This is a very old-fashioned romantic comedy. Writer/director Nancy Meyers's movie is solidly constructed, which is both good and bad. Meyers is a little too mistrustful of her audience. Just in case we might miss something, Erica wears a lot of white and Harry wears a lot of black and when they go walking on the beach, Erica picks up only the white stones until Harry gives her a black one. They wear each other's glasses. We get it, we get it, they are learning to see through each other's eyes.
And though there are plenty of laughs, in at least two scenes where the audience wants and deserves to hear the conversation between the characters, Meyers cheats us by playing a song instead of giving us any dialogue. The movie is overly plotted and too long but still manages to leave us feeling that we did not find out enough about Marin, Julian, and Erica's sister (Frances McDormand). But this is Keaton's best performance since Annie Hall, very smart, wickedly wise, and extremely funny. Nicholson holds nothing back and clearly has a lot of fun spoofing his own reputation. Reeves is sweet, sincere, and sexy, Peet brings a great deal to an under-written character, and McDormand is so good that you will wish for another movie just about her character.
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