Monday, July 11, 2011

Diane Keaton in Something's Gotta Give

Diane Keaton received her fourth Best Actress nomination for playing Erica Barry, a divorced, rich playwright in Something's Gotta Give. I think if it hadn't been for Charlize Theron, Diane Keaton would have won her second Oscar in that so-so year. She won the Golden Globe (actually, she was the only nominee besides Theron who was nominated for the Golden Globe), this was sort of a comeback (and also a movie that brought many movies for her that are all total disasters) plus she's Diane Keaton, who's nominated every decade. I wonder if she'll get a nomination this decade, too.

Something's Gotta Give is a movie that really doesn't fit my taste. Just like with It's Complicated I feel a bit awkward looking at these divorced people who are rich as hell and don't have any real problems just some issues in their love lives. That being said, I still had some fun while watching it, despite the fact that it's totally predictable. I think Jack Nicholson is very good in his role but I don't feel that it was much of a strech for him. The others gave pretty forgettable performances.

OK, let's start it here: I really love Diane Keaton. Her performance as Annie Hall is beyond words for me and I'm so in love with her roles in the 70s and the 80s. One can say that she's playing Annie Hall over and over again but I wouldn't say so. I think she's much more versatile than people actually think. She could play a totally iconic character, she could light up one of the most boring movies of all time (Reds) with her performance as the radical feminist, she could be a lonely, forgotten spinster in Crimes of the Heart or a leukemia patient in Marvin's Room. I think she's pretty great despite the horrible choices she's made in her career recently. I still hope for a really, truly great role for her.

Because to tell the truth, the part of Erica Barry is not that great. Seriously, she's a typical middle-aged rom-com heroine who hasn't had sex since the Mesozoic Era. She really doesn't have much depth but she's the one you can laugh at. I guess Diane Keaton really was the best choice to play her. She's like an older, updated version of Annie Hall without that special sparkling that was present in Woody Allen's classic.

There are many people who really love this performance. Although I'm not one of them, I still really liked Diane in this movie as she managed to be very entertaining plus she delivered the best performance of the actors. I had fun while looking at her, while I saw her laughing, crying and so on. The first scene of Erica is a typical Diane Keaton moment with the loud, over-the-top scream and exaggerated mannerisms. And they all work or at least for me. A memorable entrance is always a positive thing in my book. I guess that influenced my way of looking at this performance. If I instantly like something, it's hard for me to dislike it after a while.

Keaton's chemistry with Jack Nicholson is the most crucial element of the whole movie. If it had not been there, everything would have failed. Fortunately, it's really present and they make up a really great couple (that's probably why they are still my favorite Best Picture presenters of the past). I don't know there's something both simple and extraordinary about them that I really cannot explain. They just seem to be great together.

There's something that Diane Keaton managed to do here that Meryl Streep failed to do in It's Complicated. Keaton was able to avoid making a total fool of herself even though that naked scene was on the edge. It wasn't even that funny but still it could have been way more awkward. Somehow, she was able to keep the balance between funny and idiot. Just like the crying scene. She's so over-the-top and yet I laughed my butt off as she was just hilarious. I guess it would be much for some but not for me. Somehow I have a thing for exaggerated cries in a comedies. Looking at Diane is like watching Doris Day in Pillow Talk sometimes and that's also probably why I loved her so much sometimes.

As I said, the movie is totally predictable and yet Diane's performance elevates it somehow. She gives it what it needed: spirit. She fills it with her luminous, wonderful presence and made it a really funny, lovely experience.

I ask myself, though: is this that much from Diane Keaton? Well, probably not. Still, she's extremely funny and entertaining as Erica Barry, she has a wonderful chemistry with Jack Nicholson and she enlightens the screen with her wonderful, radiant personality that I love so much. I might be biased but who cares? I liked her.

A true, strong 4.

What do you think?


Sage Slowdive said...

I kinda hate her...

dinasztie said...

I kinda love her... :)

Louis Morgan said...

I just never found myself liking this performance very much.

mrripley said...

I loved it first then cooled on it,2 scenes really stick out for me her sidewalk break up and making pancakes with jack,i loved her in those 2 scenes,the crying stuff i thought was ott but she was so warm when she was with keanu n jack,the ending is no no no!!!