As the screenwriter/producer (along with frequent collaborator and then-spouse Charles Shyer) of some of the best-known comedies of the 1980s and '90s, Nancy Meyers could, at least in part, be credited with providing screen starlet Goldie Hawn with a couple of the bubbly actress's late-career signature roles. Later moving into directing with the popular Disney remake The Parent Trap (1998), Meyers entered into a successful new phase in her career that would yield such hit romantic comedies as What Women Want and Something's Gotta Give.
The Pennsylvania, PA native received her higher education at Washington, D.C.'s American University before relocating to Los Angeles as a story editor for Rastar Productions in 1972. Subsequent studies at UCLA eventually led Meyers to enter show business as an assistant director and production manager. Her keen observation of the human condition prompted Meyers to try her hand at screenwriting, resulting in scripts for such popular sitcoms as The Odd Couple and All in the Family. Meyers soon moved into feature territory with screenplays for Private Benjamin (which, co-written with Harvey Miller, netted a Writers' Guild Award and an Oscar nomination) and Irreconcilable Differences. With a warm, undeniably contemporary approach to modern relationships and gender roles, Meyers' writing for Private Benjamin broke new ground in Hollywood by proving that female actresses could be as bankable as their male showbiz counterparts, while Irreconcilable Differences helped to launch the career of a precocious young star named Drew Barrymore. The good-natured Diane Keaton comedy Baby Boom followed in 1987, and few could deny the charm of the touching tale of a shrewd New York businesswoman whose life changes upon inheriting a baby girl.
Despite that film's relative success, Meyers lay somewhat low for several years before returning to write and produce the hit 1991 remake Father of the Bride. She subsequently remained with Shyer for the lukewarm romantic comedy I Love Trouble (1994) and the sure-thing sequel Father of the Bride II (1995).
Meyers' directorial debut, The Parent Trap (1998), avoided the usual remake pitfalls to offer a charmingly modern take on the Disney classic. While some may have argued that her career as a producer/screenwriter had begun to sour somewhat with a seeming over-reliance on remakes and such "throwback" comedies as Nothing But Trouble, Meyers soon found a more "fresh" approach as a director, giving her career a strong second wind. Now separated from former spouse Shyer, Meyers next stepped into the director's chair to helm the fantasy-flavored romantic comedy What Women Want. Starring Hollywood heavy Mel Gibson as an arrogant ad executive who suddenly possesses the power to read women's minds, What Women Want offered a funny and original take on modern relationships and proved a hit with moviegoers.
Meyers' professional association with Keaton was well established thanks to such features as the Father of the Bride films and Baby Boom, so when Meyers next chose to direct a tale of an aging womanizer who finds himself uncharacteristically falling for a woman his own age, the actress seemed an ideal choice to play the object of desire opposite screen legend Jack Nicholson -- in fact, Meyers crafted the roles with Keaton and Nicholson in mind. Released into theaters in 2003 to positive response, Something's Gotta Give earned star Keaton an Oscar nomination as well as a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy come awards time -- proving that Meyers' grasp on the complexities of contemporary relationships was as strong as ever.
After this success, the writer/director resurfaced with Holiday. This romantic comedy (aptly named, given its initial release during the 2006 Christmas season) starred Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet as an American woman and a Britisher who meet in an online support group that offers "house-swapping vacations" for dissatisfied people. The women indeed decide to follow suit, exchanging residences, and they each become involved with a man on opposite sides of the Atlantic (played by Jack Black and Jude Law). Though its reviews were mixed, its box-office take proved Meyers was truly the reigning queen of winter-break chick flicks. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi