This has inspired scoldings from the filmcrit police ("This is Jack playing 'Jack'," says Variety), but who would you rather have playing him?
Nicholson's quasi-autobiographical role is one of the pleasures of the film.
How, why and whether Harry and Julian do or don't become Erica's lovers is entirely a matter of sitcom accounting, and need not concern us.
What's intriguing about the movie is what they say in between.
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He prescribes bed rest for Harry, who takes refuge in Erica's guest room as the others return to the city.And that's the setup for a witty sitcom, written and directed by Nancy Meyers, who in movies like "Baby Boom" and "What Women Want," has dealt skillfully with the sexual adventures of characters whose ages fall between those who remember where they were when John Kennedy was shot, and when John Lennon was murdered.It is more or less foreordained that Harry and Erica will fall in love, despite his taste for younger women. Mercer also falls in love with Erica, supplying her with two possible lovers at a time in her life when she thought she'd gone into sexual retirement.Mercer have had sex, which perhaps makes the situation easier for him; in the Hamptons, a virgin is anyone who hasn't slept with anyone you know since you met them. To complain that Nicholson is playing "himself" -- or that Keaton is also playing a character very much like her public persona -- is missing the point.Part of the appeal depends on the movie's teasing confusion of reality and fiction.