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Movie Review: "Something's Gotta Give"

This is so cool!

It's the award season, as you know if you are a movie buff, and as a member of the Directors Guild of America, I get to see some free screenings of films whose directors are possible nominees for the DGA feature film award.

Once in a while, I'll get to see a movie that hasn't been put in general release yet, and such was the case last night at a special screening room (50 seats, no commercials or trailers!) that the DGA rents out for members to see these films.

About 20 of my fellow DGA members braved a driving rainstorm to see the new Jack Nicholson romantic comedy, and I have to tell you: Nicholson definitely gets better with age. He was fabulous in a deadpan sort of way last year in "About Schmidt" (and I can't hear his voice anymore without hearing it say the words "Dear Ndugu" from that film), and this is much the same.

Here's the setup. Nicholson plays Harry Sanborn, a 63-year-old confirmed bachelor, who owns a record company and dates only women young enough to be his daughter. Amanda Peet (the goofily named "Marin") is his latest squeeze, and she's taking him for the weekend to her mother's house in the Hamptons on Long Island for, well, you know.

The fun starts when mom Erica (Diane Keaton) shows up unexpectedly, catching Harry in the kitchen in his underwear.

When Harry has a heart attack, his doctor is Julian Mercer (Keanu Reeves), a little too impossibly cute to be a doctor, but a doctor who saves his life, and makes housecalls to boot. That's where the real fun starts, as Harry realizes that he may be falling in love with Erica, which he doesn't want to admit because it's a "woman his age". Meanwhile, Julian is also falling in love with Erica.

Amanda Peet's Marin appears to be just eye candy at the beginning, but her character winds up having very sensitive and interesting insights into life, even some she can teach her own mother. Frances McDormand plays Erica's sister Zoe, a feminist professor at Columbia. I thought that character was really interesting, but she kind of got left in the background. Plus, McDormand is a terrific actress anyway in almost anything she does.

I don't like spoilers, so I won't give anything else away. Keaton is 57 years old, and like Charlotte Rampling (who is also 57) in "Swimming Pool" earlier this year, she does a daring nude scene, and plays her character with great humor, emotion and dignity, and between her and Nicholson, both learn a lot about love, and life, Nicholson especially, in the most unexpected of ways, learns that his life hasn't been lived to the fullest, and he grabs on tight to it when it seems about to slip away. In the meantime, Keaton's Erica is in the middle of writing a new play, but she's had writer's block -- until her relationship with Harry suddenly writes the play almost by itself. Some very funny scenes result, which I won't ruin (like some other movie critics I could name but won't, do) by telling you about them.

This film was directed (and written) by Nancy Meyers, who also directed "What Women Want". Yes, it's a chick flick, but that doesn't mean you won't like it if you're not female. Go, and see the wonderful performances by two of the best actors of our time. It will be released nationally this Friday, December 12.

AYRating: *** 1/2