ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  nancy meyers

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  comedy

LENGTH  -  133 minutes

RELEASED  -  12 december 2003

DISTRIBUTOR  -  sony pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  something's gotta give

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $80,000,000
something's gotta give - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from something's gotta give at

buy the dvd from something's gotta give at

a woman in her fifties finds herself the object of affection of a young doctor and an older confirmed playboy bachelor.

when this screenplay first emerged in 1993, jim carrey was attached.


picture from something's gotta give

picture from something's gotta give

picture from something's gotta give


three out of four possible stars

Excepting the mildly peculiar title, Something's Gotta Give is a film that caters to viewers over fifty, but that should appeal to any viewer wanting a classic love story with a few modern twists. As when star Jack Nicholson (doing his best impression of Jack Nicholson) says during a poignant moment in the film, "look at that, I'm the girl," viewers are continuously reminded that this is a romantic comedy whose primary focus is to beat down the standard conventions of that genre of storytelling without forgetting to adhere to a few of those conventions for the audience's sake of enjoyment. Though it can be entertaining to see a film that turns one's expectations upside-down, sometimes giving the viewers what they expect is a good thing.

Diane Keaton plays her neurotic best as "Erica Barry," a fifty-something playwright whose ex-husband still produces her plays, and one might be surprised at how much of her neck (and other body parts) she reveals in this film. Comically berated for her staunch use of turtle-necks in her films, audiences finally get to see Keaton's neck in this film and it seems she's defied the aging process completely in that area. Although plastic surgeons would probably kill for a chance at her eyelids, in all other respects, Keaton is a radiant woman who doesn't really act her age and who could probably charm the socks off of anybody.

Including a thirty-seven year old doctor. Who happens to be played by Keanu Reeves, in a role that certainly distances him from his popular Matrix character. You won't see him say "whoa" in this film, but he hasn't left the surfer dude persona behind completely. But it's safe to say that his on-screen dramatic abilities have improved since he made 2001's Sweet November. Co-star Frances McDormand, who plays Keaton's forward thinking sister, certainly needs no improvement in her acting abilities, and as usual, she is at her witty best in this film, with her lively delivery improving tenfold each scene she's in. Rounding out the main cast, Amanda Peet gives one of the most believable and likeable performances of her career as Keaton's flighty yet adorable daughter who begins the film in a relationship with Nicholson's confirmed bachelor, "Harry."

As the main romantic duo in the film, Keaton and Nicholson interact beautifully on screen and though each actor plays a role not so different from previous cinematic efforts by each, their romantic chemistry is strong enough to hold your attention. One of the only flaws in the film is probably its length. Though director and writer Nancy Meyers has penned a quick-witted and entertaining script, there are scenes in the film that could have been scaled back. Though the characters are never tiresome, there are a few instances when one might want to shout, "Get to it already!" when various characters are interacting on screen. As the dialogue in a romantic comedy is usually delivered in a rapid back and forth fashion, a lot of dialogue has to be digested by the audiences and regardless of its quality, more is not always a good thing.

But since Keaton and Nicholson are never anything less than completely blithe and nimble in their portrayals, the waiting game is not that much of a game. Rather, it might be a mild annoyance that sits in the back of your mind while you wait for the last scene whose ending you can easily predict. One of the dangers of romantic comedies is that it's quite easy to see your way to the credits and figure out where each of the characters is going to end up, so making the journey to those credits as animated as possible is a must. And when viewers see Nicholson's familiar double "bounce" as he delivers dialogue and Keaton's wild hand gesticulations, the sense of familiarity will be complete, though not unwelcome.

The soundtrack seems especially well-done, as it never ever intrudes into the more delicate scenes of the film (of which there are several), and neither does it trounce all over the more effervescent scenes. The filmmakers obviously didn't need to use the soundtrack to further the emotional connections of the characters, as the actors were able to accomplish this without the slightest audial interference from the score. The cinematography is equally non-invasive, though the use of a circular moving camera (when the camera circles around a character endlessly during a scene) might annoy those with weaker constitutions. In a film whose main attribute is spunky dialogue, voracious camera techniques are not always the correct path for cinematographers to take.

This film owes most of its success to its highly animated lead stars, who both add their proficiency in the art of physical comedy to Meyers' spirited dialogue. As the main focus of a romantic comedy is always its leading romantic duo, it is refreshing to see two actors over the age of fifty take the center stage in a broad romantic comedy. For fans of Keaton and Nicholson, this film should rank quite high, and for people who like the genre, the modern take on the classic love story (opposites attract) should impress viewers. Perhaps the only demographic left out in the cold is the 18 to 24 year old male viewer who might not appreciate the film unless he is a fan of the actors.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - 2005 - ninth symphony films - photographs sony pictures 2003
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