I have already seen the movie “Something’s Got To Give” with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson twice. It’s a good movie, but the real draw for me was watching Keanu Reeves fall for a woman twenty years his senior. I don’t know how Hollywood did it, but someone from there clearly snuck into my fantasy life and made a movie based on it. The only difference is that my fantasy ends with me telling Jack Nicholson to get real and I stay with Keanu Reeves.
Each time I’ve seen this movie, the ending has driven me crazy. I want to jump out of my seat and yell at Diane Keaton “Are you crazy? Why would you leave Keanu Reeves for Jack Nicholson? Put your glasses on. Take a good look. Now rethink that decision.”
But no matter how hard I try, she always makes the wrong choice. Which just proves to me that most romantic movies are still the product of old men’s fantasies. In their movies, not only do old men get the young women, they get the older women too. Even when a super stud like Keanu is standing there waiting to be had. That is definitely a man’s fantasy, not a woman’s.
Hollywood is all over itself, breaking its arm patting itself on the back in an orgy of self-congratulations over making a movie in which an older woman plays the sexy leading role. The female romantic lead in this case, Diane Keaton, looks like she’s probably gone from an Annie Hall size 2 to a mature size 4. The male romantic lead, Jack Nicholson, looks like he hasn’t seen the inside of a gym since they marched all the patients there in “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”. Even giving him some slack for the fact that the camera adds 10 pounds, Jack is easily a good 40 pounds from fighting form.
Can you imagine a romantic comedy in which Harrison Ford plays opposite Tyne Daly and leaves Julia Roberts for her? No? Well, that the equivalent of Diane Keaton leaving Keanu Reeves for Jack Nicholson. And that brings me back to my original premise that these movies are fulfilling the romantic fantasies of a bunch of aging, out of shape men who have enough money to bring their fantasies to life.
The fact that this was written and directed by a woman, Nancy Meyers, who previously gave us Mel Gibson’s enlightenment in “What Women Want”, makes me wonder if the only way she can get her projects off the ground is by tailoring them to fit some level of male studio head fantasy.
There is one part of the movie though that is as close to truth in a woman’s experience as you get. It’s the series of scenes that follows Keaton laying her heart out to Nicholson and Nicholson looking at it like an alien life form. It’s the dramatic breakup required for the heart tugging reunion at the end.
For the next five minutes or so, the screen is filled with Diane Keaton bursting into tears in various locations. I don’t know how she did it, but I don’t think there is a woman alive who can hear the particular sound of those cries and not find them very familiar. There are few of us who have been lucky enough to get through life without making them.
Both times I saw this movie, this series of scenes brought out initial laughter and then quiet from the almost all female audience. It sent us all back to a moment in our life where we laid our heart at the feet of the man we adored and he recoiled in horror and ran the other way.
Keaton’s character, a playwright, takes her painful situation and turns it into a successful play about the relationship in which she kills off the older man with a heart attack. In so doing, she provides all of us the unspoken revenge we have sought from the men who treated us so badly.
If this movie is as successful for Nancy Meyers as “What Women Want” was, then she should be reaching a point of having some clout in the film industry. At that point, I’d like to see her produce a movie with an overweight, out of shape actress of a “certain age” in the romantic lead and men from 30 to 60 going crazy for her. Now that’s a movie I’d pay a lot to watch.