Nancy meyers and husband Charles Shyer co-wrote the middlebrow comedies Private Benjamin, Baby Boom, and Father of the Bride, then divorced. She poured her heartbreak into Give (on DVD March 23), her greatest writing/directing triumph, which is also a career highlight for stars Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson. The movie is a classic of middle-aged female wish fulfillment: The face-lift-free Keaton is in control of her own fate—and everybody else's. She's a rich, brilliant Broadway playwright with a Hamptons home right out of Martha Stewart Living whose breath-of-life kiss saves Nicholson after his heart attack. Then she steals him from her supportive daughter (Amanda Peet); and, with the help of her supportive sister (Frances McDormand), she also snags a hunky young cardiologist (Keanu Reeves).
There are two commentary tracks: one featuring Meyers with Nicholson; the other a short "cameo" featuring Keaton, who appears right after the first-date, walk-on-the-beach scene. Both commentaries reveal how autobiographical the film is. Like Keaton's character, Meyers felt sad and lonely about sleeping in the middle of her bed after the divorce. She once glimpsed a guy she was dating with another, far younger woman at a restaurant; when she confronted him, he infuriated her by not feeling guilty at all. Keaton's revenge roman-à-clef play (A Woman to Love) gets its title from a guy who once told Meyers she was "a woman to love"—"It meant he didn't love me."
Leave it to Nicholson to puncture the midlife mopery. He explains how a bedroom scene with Peet gave him "a huge [erection]" that Meyers had to omit from the shot. No, this huge scene doesn't appear on the single disc, though an also-trimmed romantic scene where Nicholson sings Keaton their song, "La Vie en Rose," at a karaoke bar does. The reason to buy this DVD is Nicholson's commentary, not Meyers', which gives rare insights into the acting process of a genius. TIM APPELO
Speaking of aging sexpots with undiminished libidos, Gina Gershon stars in Prey for Rock and Roll. Also out March 9, there's an entire Raquel Welch collection that includes One Million Years B.C. No less iconic, though in a different way, The Ten Commandments is on disc with many extras. Schindler's List and Bergman's Scenes From a Marriage include lots of bonus material; mercifully, Mona Lisa Smile does not. EDS.