jack nicholson tribute: SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE (2003)
Harry Sanborn in Something’s Gotta Give (2003)
Sharing the screen with Diane Keaton is no easy feat, and, with the exception of maybe Woody Allen, no male co-star seems to have the ability to take any attention away from her. So in Something’s Gotta Give, it’s no surprise that Jack is sent to pick up the remnants of the scenery that Keaton leaves behind. Keaton’s performance is one of her career best (and should’ve gotten her a second Oscar), but I digress. This is about Jack’s showing, and truth be told, I liked it better than most critics did.
Keaton’s Erica certainly outshone Nicholson’s Harry in terms of emotional depth, but at least Jack’s aging was truly addressed in the comedic way that only a director such as Nancy Meyers could muster up. We’re meant to find Harry despicable — he’s a man in his 60s who works in hip hop recording, he goes after women much younger than he, and the idea of dating a woman his own age is preposterous to him. But from the moment the two budding lovebirds inadvertently trade glasses, it’s clear that this sub-geriatric love story has more youth and freshness than most rom-com relations of late.
So say what you will about Jack’s seemingly laid-back, phoned-in performance. Though you get the sense he’s playing himself at many points, he at least understands that his role is to give Keaton some space to do what she does best — the neurotic but intelligent pants-wearer. Though I much prefer other less conventional rom-com performances from the actor (see: As Good As It Gets), he’s an admirable co-star for this lead actress showcase.
Jack’s Performance: B
The Film: A-