There is a film stereotype where there is an older man who has a relationship with a much younger woman. In the majority of the cases with an age discrepancy, it is the man with a younger woman and not the other way around. There are exceptions, of course, but this is accurate as a general rule. Something s Gotta Give messes with that stereotype a little bit (and, unfortunately, only a little). Harry (Jack Nicholson) is the older man. He is a top executive at a record company and he is legendary for his propensity to date younger women. He is also legendary for never having been married. His current fling is with Marin (Amanda Peet). She is the younger woman . Harry and Marin plan on spending a weekend together at Marin s mother s home. The mother is supposed to be away for the weekend working on her new play.
This means, of course, that Marin s mother will show up and complicate the weekend. That is exactly what happens. Marin s mother Erica (Diane Keaton) and her aunt Zoe (Frances McDormand) show up just as Harry is downstairs in the kitchen (wearing only a shirt and underpants) getting something to eat. Naturally, the women freak out and are about to call the police on Harry when he is finally able to explain, with the help of Marin, who he is and why he is there. They all decide to act like rational adults and all spend the weekend at the house, but to keep out of each other s business. It wouldn t be much of a movie if that happened. When Harry and Marin are starting to get frisky one night, Harry has a heart attack (he is a 63 year old man, after all). They all rush to the hospital and his doctor, Julian (Keanu Reeves), helps save Harry. Julian also insists that Harry cannot return to the city and will only let him leave the hospital if he has somewhere to stay. Where might that be? Erica s house. Just as this happens, Marin and Zoe both leave and Erica is left to care for Harry, and she didn t even approve of him in the first place.
This is the movie. Erica and Harry begin as two people who do not really like each other and are certainly not interested in each other. Erica finds Harry to be disgusting and Harry has never been attracted to a woman his own age (at least not since he was in his 20 s). Julian, on the other hand, is familiar with Erica s work as a playwright and he is attracted to Erica. In this instance, we have a younger man falling for an older woman. But the movie is about Harry and his journey, so we know that Harry must get over his obsession with younger women and we know that he is going to start to become attracted to a woman his own age.
On one hand, it is nice to see an older man begin to be attracted to an older woman, especially when he is giving up a younger woman (in this case, the older woman s daughter), but I started to care more about Erica s journey because we knew exactly where Harry was going to end up and I wanted something different. This was a very standard (if well acted) movie that could very easily have given a twist to make Something s Gotta Give special. Let s be honest, and I ll ask the women who are reading this: Ladies, would you rather have Jack or Keanu? This movie could have been a whole lot more and could have really played with the convention and expectation that this movie was bringing, but it didn t. At nearly every moment, we know how this film is going to play out, and I was hoping for more. With that said, Something s Gotta Give is well acted, and well produced, but it is nothing out of the ordinary, either.