Thursday 5th February 2004
All content © New Journal Enterprises, 2004

SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE – Cert 12a/Dir Nancy Myers
Woody Allen may well have described Diane Keaton’s acting style a “nervous breakdown in slow motion” but that was before she made Something’s Gotta Give – a film in which she clearly has pure fun.
She plays a wealthy writer who lives in the Hamptons in her smoke-free house overlooking the surf. Her daughter visits with her boyfriend (Jack Nicholson), who brings his cigars and viagra with him.
At first Keaton and Nicholson can’t bear the sight of each other (he’s never dated a woman over 30) but after a while – ya de ya.
Nicholson can’t help acting the pig (he’s at his low-down worst here, keeping the Dirty Boy right at the centre of his talent) and Keaton takes her revenge by writing a play about his deficiencies and dating a young doctor, played by Keanu Reeves. Ah, Keanu. Snow-pale Keanu.
Taking everyone and everything so seriously, like a small child showing you his new drawing.
Keaton hits the Annie Hall mark time and again. Cool, timid, self-mocking. Eyes so wide-set you feel the liner might slide them right to the back of her head. Eyes full of apology. She’s gorgeous.
Nicholson is memorably grotesque and mad.
And when he’s being old and manic, you can’t help but think of him young and manic in Five Easy Pieces (1969), his best role, as a failed concert pianist, pretending to play piano at the dinner table, then deciding to do a little dance whilst standing still, then ripping open his shirt for the hell of it, then imagining he has breasts, then feeling those imaginary breasts up, all the time singing a bubbly little something.
In many ways Something’s Gotta Give pays as much homage to the Nicholson of that era, as it does to Keaton in her defining role of Annie Hall (did you know her real name is Diane Hall?)
The difference is that where Nicholson’s persona has undurated into a hard cheese, Keaton’s still capable of sweetness, of being cool. La-de-lovely-da.