I’m not sure who Nancy Meyers is paying to cut her trailers but it should be more as with both “What Women Want” and this movie, the trailers are infinitely better than the limp final product. ‘Give’ especially is being marketed on one thing – Jack Nicholson being Jack, an older guy whose always had younger women throughout his life and finally finds the older woman who turns him, in this case Diane Keaton who looks quite incredible.
Sounds good but the trouble is – its not. The laughs and biting humour that the premise sets up are barely there, and where it does show up its usually bookended by of all things a very political feminist statement. That’s all fine and good but when it undermines the comedy element of what is supposed to be a ‘romantic comedy’, its simply cloying. The best formulas for these type of films is that the guy himself is a chauvinist prick whose converted by, in this case, a proud but introverted writer who finds herself free again. Nicholson proved this superbly with “As Good As it Gets”, one of the best romantic comedies ever.
Yet in ‘Give’ whilst Keaton gets good airplay and develops nicely throughout the bloated runtime of the film, Nicholson is given short shrift and seems almost too saintly in comparison to what he should be playing. Keanu Reeves as the smouldering good looking young doctor whose a rival for Keaton’s affections is refreshingly perfect for the part and plays it nicely although at the end he kind of vanishes with only a limp explanation and the ‘rivalry’ angle is never properly plaid. Frances McDormand and Amanda Peet deliver in small supporting roles though Jon Favreau is given nothing to do.
Amongst other things to watch out for is some shock nudity from both lead stars although its plaid for a good laugh. Its a movie which seems too limp-wristed to take a swipe at anything. Characters swap the odd insult but its all in that ultra-politically correct manner which becomes very frustrating. As the film drags on and on it becomes worse – again its because conventions are defied and the simmering romance between the leads comes to fruition far too early on. SO much more could’ve and has been done with such talent, as is the final product is a nice little showcase for Diane Keaton but not much else.