Again and again, characters in the film refer to her strength, her independence, her decisiveness.
This, despite the fact that she spends half the movie giggling and the other half sobbing.
Mc Dormand and Peet scram almost immediately, leaving the two antagonists alone to fight, complain, fall in love, split up, fight, complain, and fall in love again.
This plot develops with all the imagination of a flow chart.
It'll be a movie about older men with younger women, and older women with younger men--we'll get some kid, like maybe Keanu, to be interested in Diane, too--and, this is the best part, never moves much beyond this cynical premise.
Writer-director Nancy Meyer opens the film with perhaps the most painfully contrived setup since the cancellation of "Three's Company." Nicholson and his young girlfriend (Amanda Peet) go to her mother's gorgeous Hamptons beach house to spend the weekend consummating their relationship.
Ironically, it is exactly Keaton's failure to portray the character written for her--the "brilliant," "formidable," "impervious" playwright--that surely accounts for the popularity of her performance with critics and audiences alike.
(Anyone hoping, as I was, that this might be a sly reference to the most memorable line in the famous 1992 "Seinfeld" episode "The Contest" will be disappointed.) It's tempting to describe this Diane Keaton-Jack Nicholson vehicle about late-in-life love as a bad movie.
But that would be giving it too much credit, because it's hardly a movie at all.
Meyer (who also did remakes) knows exactly what each scene is supposed to do and sends loud enough signals that everyone in the audience knows, too.
The problem is that all too often Meyer uses this collective knowledge as an excuse not to have the scene actually what we all know it was supposed to do.