I resisted seeing this movie for months. The previews seemed silly, the title lame. And honestly, I’m lukewarm about Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves, and Jack Nicholson.
And now I get to tell you that this was one of the best acted, written, and directed comedies of all time. Maybe it has to do with age—my being . . . uhhh, over 30. But I know good writing when I hear it. And I just heard it. I feel happy, entertained, and deeply satisfied. Kudos to screenwriting and direction maestro Nancy Meyers, a wise and seasoned woman. And to Diane Keaton, who scooped the Oscar and a Golden Globe for being funny, unabashed, and downright spectacular.
Since I’m the last person in Southeast Iowa to see this flick, you don’t need me to tell you the plot. But I have to; it’s my job. Harry (Nicholson) is a 63-year-old record label mogul still dating 30-year-olds, except when he can find them younger. Marin (drop-dead gorgeous Amanda Peet), his girlfriend of the week, brings Harry to her mom’s beach home. And when he meets Erica (Keaton)—a divorcee, an accomplished playwright, and a sharp, independent, and forthright woman—it’s hate at first sight. Erica is bugged by Harry, who dates young women for sport. Harry is bugged by Erica because she’s older and intelligent and irritated by him, and he’s used to women being charmed. But they put up with each other because, hey, it’s just for the weekend. Or maybe not.
The rest of the story involves a heart attack that puts Harry in the hospital and then into recuperation at Erica’s, where the two gradually let their guards down and get to know each other for real. And then there’s the young, charming, and sincere Dr. Mercer (Reeves), Harry’s attending physician and a fan of Erica, who is twenty years his senior. Recognizing a quality woman, he falls madly in love and pursues her with gusto.
Brilliant, poignant, hilarious, and oh so natural, this story slides like a finely oiled machine through all those wonderful clichés like relationships, risk, heartbreak, personal values, preconceived ideas, and the mighty force of love. And most of all it milks the grand wisdom of middle age that shines like a beacon through the whole script. This bold film goes for the jugular on a red-hot issue for American women: that men favor smooth young skin over experience and savvy. This story gives us hope that there is, in fact, a God, or at least a Goddess who ensures that women of age receive their due appreciation. Praise the Good Goddess for VHS and DVD. Do not miss this film.