Inveterate bachelor Jack Nicholson (playing, essentially, himself) arrives at a beach housewith his latest young conquest, only to run into her mother (Diane Keaton, also play, essentially,herself). Shortly thereafter, Nicholson has a heart attack, and is forced to remain in the Hamptonsunder the reluctant care of Keaton. A bond inevitably grows between them, even as she is beingromanced by the much younger Keanu Reeves.
It says something about our movie-conditioned…view of romance that a love story betweentwo middle-aged people is treated, by the movie and the critics alike, as a Really Big Deal. Thefantasy elements are as obvious as those of Bridget Jones’ Diary, but then, fantasy is partof the point of a romantic comedy in the first place. There is some witty dialogue here, andFrances McDormand is a lot of fun in her too-brief role, as she demonstrates once again herenormous, chameleon-like versatility. Keaton and Nicholson, on the other hand, play rigorouslyto type, with Keaton having wandered in off the set of a Woody Allen movie, and Nicholsonapparently having strolled in after an post-Oscar bash. Nicholson growls away in predictablefashion, and if there is anything that can make fingernails on a blackboard sound like Pachelbel’s“Canon,” it is Keaton on a crying jag. If, as mentioned, there is witty dialogue, there is also way,way too much dialogue. No comedy, romantic or otherwise, should go past the 90-minute mark,and this specimen clocks in at an exhausting 128 minutes. The excessive running length is duelargely to scenes that overstay their welcome and their usefulness, lingering on the screen wellafter the audience got the point.
If you like all that dialogue, the audio track will serve you well. The voices are all crisp andundistorted, and are never drowned out by other sounds. This is partly because there are very fewother sounds. The background is kept to a minimum, and that means that so is the surroundaspect. The music sounds fine, but there are few to zero attempts at creating an environment(even in a few obvious situations, such as the supermarket or the hospital). There is some low-key surround, but the focus, as it should be, is on the dialogue.
Nice picture, with fine colours, strong contrasts, and excellent blacks. The flesh tones aregood, though the vary in tint a bit from shot to shot. There is no visible grain or edgeenhancement, and the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen image is sharp. A very solid transfer by anystandard.
Writer/director Nancy Meyers leads both commentary tracks. On the first, she is joined byproducer Bruce A. Block and Diane Keaton; on the second, by Jack Nicholson. The first trackis a bit more technical, a bit more focused on the hows and whys of each shot. The second ismore banter-oriented, and Nicholson is amusing in that charmingly oily Nicholson way. AmandaPeet gives us a tour of the Hamptons house used for the film. There is one deleted scene (withno commentary). Rounding things out are filmographies for cast and crew, and 10 trailers,including that of the feature. The menu’s main screen is animated, and scored, and the secondaryscreens are scored.
Big-time sluggish, the film no doubt scored big by hitting Boomers where they live andfeaturing big names in the cast.
Special Features List
- 2 Audio Commentaries
- Deleted Scene
- Hamtons House Tour
- Cast and Crew Filmographies
- Theatrical Trailers