idea of Jack Nicholson stepping back into the role of private dick Jake Gittes would be so much more exciting had The Two Jakes functioned better as a narrative. Though Robert Towne’s screenplay occassionally recalls the wit and intrigue of Chinatown, the story is simply too labyrinthine (and cold) for a good, but not quite master filmmaker like Nicholson to handle. It’s only worth seeing as a flawed companion piece to an absolute American classic (to that end, it is far preferable to Peter Bogdanovich’s Texasville).

In a way, I guess this makes the prospect of Gittes vs. Gittes, as Nicholson has taken to calling it (Towne once referred to the concluding chapter of the trilogy as Cloverleaf), a little more appealing. Better to follow a disappointment than an all-timer, right? It’s important to note that this is idle chatter for the moment, but when asked about a third Gittes movie, the world’s most famous Laker fan told MTV Movies Blog, "It was meant to be set in 1968 when no-fault divorce went into effect in California. It was to be about Gittes’s divorce. The secrecy of Meg Tilly’s character [Kitty Berman] was somehow to involve the most private person in California, Howard Hughes."

With the involvement of Hughes, the films would, elementally, come full circle: water, fire and air. This is probably more interesting to Nicholson than anyone else, but I’d much rather see the old pro echoing his past successes than doing The Bucket List. I’d also like to see Towne helm this final installment (if he’s physically able), as I think he’s coming off the best film of his directorial career (Ask the Dust). Paramount might prefer someone more bankable, but I could see Towne getting the gig if Nicholson went to bat for him and had no designs on directing this one, too.