Something’s Gotta Give is a romantic comedy. You can tell this because it starts with one of the most romantic songs ever written. Butterfly by Crazy Town.
Like the title of the film, this is a collection of half baked ideas looking for structure. Beyond the raison d’etre casting the only real thing the film has going for it is that some of the ideas to be half baked are actually quite good. We’ve had our fill of May To December romances, finally we get a December to May thrown in the mix as well as the December to December one the film finally plumps for. Nevertheless it is a curious film who is really not sure with whom its sympathy lies. Is it with ageing lothario Jack Nicholson who finally discovers love in his sixties? Or is it emotionally locked off Diane Keaton, who after getting used to spending nights alone suddenly gets the interest of not one but two men. The feminist comparison of Keaton and Nicholson’s respective places in the world is expertly summarised, though the film seems far too good at analysing its own characters and then merely putting them through the motions.
Oddly, the motions do not exist for a film like this. It happily recycles plenty of clich’s about how the antagonists are thrust together and then find love, but point is that it is pretty unusual to see this happening with two people in their sixties. Equally the other man (in this case the younger man) is thoroughly decent and played by Keanu Reeves leaves us a film without a single baddie. Perhaps we have been too well trained by plenty of other films that Jack’s actions in this film are not particularly deplorable. Whatever, with a lack of truly funny lines the film merely coasts on being able to surprise us with a genuinely novel scenario – even if it sews it all up in a very traditional fashion. Watching the finale in Paris one cannot help but wonder if Woody Allen and Goldie Hawn are down off the bridge, on the banks of the Seine doing their own little romantic dance number from Everyone Says I Love You (possibly a better title for this film). And perhaps Jack and Goldie, Woody and Diane would be better couples.