Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: None listed at time of going to press
SHREWD casting and a knowing sense of humour make for an irresistible
combination in Jack Nicholsons latest romantic comedy, which
takes a witty and insightful look at the dating game for the older
As a successful music executive, who has made a life out of dating
younger women (always under the age of 30), Nicholson may not
be stretching himself too far, particularly when muttering lines
such as, some say I'm an expert on the younger woman - since
I've been dating them for 40 years, but it is exactly for
this reason that the film works so well.
Anyone who loves Jack, cant fail to love the movie, particularly
as the actor is on such fine form.
The same can be said for Diane Keaton, recently rewarded with
a Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy, as well as an Oscar
nomination, who provides a neat sparring partner for the wily
old veteran, as well as a tremendously affecting soul mate.
Reunited for the first time, on-screen, since 1981s Reds,
the pair provide an endearing couple, benefiting strongly from
writer-director, Nancy Meyers surprisingly effective script,
which is, by turns, delightfully funny and poignantly heart-breaking.
The dynamics of the story are fairly simple. Nicholsons
ageing womaniser, Harry Sanborn, arrives at the Summer home of
Diane Keatons straight-laced author, Erica Barry, with the
intention of bedding her sexy, young daughter, Marin (Amanda Peet),
only to have his romantic endeavours plunged into chaos by a suspected
Ordered to rest by Keanu Reeves dashing doc, Julian Mercer,
Harry is forced to hole up in said Summer home with only Erica
for company, and promptly finds himself drawn to the older woman
despite his best efforts to the contrary.
Their ensuing relationship is played with an honesty all too
rare in cinema nowadays, making this a journey of re-discovery
that is well worth taking.
With films such as What Women Want and Baby Boom, Meyers proved
herself to be adept at delivering crowd-pleasing romantic comedies,
despite a knowing smugness which undermined much of her good work.
Here, however, she gets the balance just right, playing off the
strengths of her leads, but giving them plenty to do within the
confines of the genre. Hence, we can laugh at the obvious gags
involving nudity and awkwardness, but we can also shed a tear
during the moments of tenderness between them.
When Keaton and Nicholson share a bed for the first time, for
instance, both end up crying over the significance of what has
just happened, and so, too, may we, given the esteem we have come
to hold for them.
Likewise, when Nicholson comes to realise the emptiness of his
former lifestyle, we cant fail but root for him, as he attempts
to make things right.
What makes the achievement more remarkable, however, is that
the audience never feels as though they have been manipulated,
arriving at their feelings because of the sheer expertise of the
Credit, too, deserves to go to the likes of Keanu Reeves, who
is surprisingly good as the doctor who also falls for Keatons
charms, and to Peet, who provides a nice sounding board for her
On the negative side, the film does have a tendency to forget
certain characters, such as Frances McDormand and Jon Favreau,
as respective friends and colleagues, but this is a small price
to pay when the central partnership works so effectively.
This is, at the end of the day, a rich and engrossing affair,
in which the experience of its performers is worth its weight