Something’s Gotta Give

somethings-gotta-give

Alee’s Analysis: A fresh yet classic look at age-gap relationships and love against all odds.

Something’s Gotta Give is a 2003 romantic comedy written and directed by Nancy Meyers. The plot involves Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson), a notorious bachelor with a love for younger women, who in spite of himself, falls in love with the more age-appropriate Erica Barry (Diane Keaton). Erica is a divorced well-known playwright who also happens to be the mother of Harry’s current girlfriend Marin (Amanda Peet).

But even after his romance with Marin ends, Harry’s love for Erica comes up against major obstacles. One is internal — his fear of committing to one woman, especially one he doesn’t have 30 years on. The other issue comes from the outside — while Harry plans his move, Erica is being courted by Harry’s younger and more handsome doctor Julian Mercer (Keanu Reeves).

Besides being a typical romantic comedy about enduring love, Something’s Gotta Give offers a glimpse at the always-interesting topic of May-December relationships and love after 50.

Younger Women, Older Men < Younger Men, Older Women < Similar-Age Couple

Or so it goes.

Something’s Gotta Gotta Give features a number and variety of relationships. The relationships involving younger women and older men are superficial and stereotypical. Harry claims to prefer younger women because he likes to “travel light” and younger women are more accepting. Accepting of what, is the question.

diane-keaton-keanu-reevesMeanwhile, Julian’s love for Erica is based on less shallow and self-serving reasons. Before he ever meets Erica in person he falls in love with her via her plays and writing. While he has no shortage of women of all ages available to him, he chooses Erica because he sees something special in her. Age is truly insignificant to him — he hardly notices their 25 year age difference.

But in the end, same-age relationships prevail. After Marin’s short relationship with Harry ends she marries a guy her age. Erica’s relationship with Julian meets an abrupt end as she joins Harry in over-50 romantic bliss.

The Plight of the Older Woman

Erica’s sister Zoe (Frances McDormand), professor of Women’s Studies at Columbia, explains the predicament that single older women are in: “The whole over 50 dating scene is geared toward men leaving older women out.” She uses her successful and interesting 50-something sister as an example of how [screwed] older women are, staying in “night, after night, after night.”

But no longer. Before Erica knows what is happening she has not only a man her own age hopelessly falling for her, but a man young enough to be her son, and handsome and successful in his own right. Alas, there is love and relationships after 50.

You Never Know What You Have…

Harry’s hesitance to commit to Erica causes him to lose her to the attentive and settled Julian. For the first time in his life he finds himself pining after a love lost. Luckily for him, Erica still loves him months after their fling and forsakes her near-engagement to Julian to be with him. Which works out, because Harry flew all the way across the world just to meet her for her birthday.

Don’t try this at home.

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43 thoughts on “Something’s Gotta Give

  1. Creepy. I never saw the appeal of an older gent on top of me. Same age relationships is the way to go for me.

    Btw you are really pumping these articles out lol 😀

  2. I’m in my early 20s and I can’t picture myself with a guy in my current age range, so I doubt I’d be interested in these early to mid 20-something guys when I’m in my 30s or 40s (dear God hopefully I’ll be married by then). I wonder if our opinions on this have been influenced by our parents age differences (my parent’s age gap is 10 yrs).

    Age is truly insignificant to him — he hardly notices their 25 year age difference.

    He would when the health issues of older age start popping up. Of course health problems can arise at any age especially if you don’t take care of yourself, but there are a range health issues that come about as we age. Having a 15, 20, or 25 year age difference will be much more significant the older the couple gets. It may not be an issue when one is 26 and the spouse is 46, but go 10-15 years into the future and the differences in health of the two people can be startling. For me, I want to grow old with my husband. I don’t want either of us to have a 15-25 year head start on that.

    @Nko, she is pumping these out, isn’t she? I’m not complaining 🙂

  3. Same age relationships are best but if the older man wants a kid that puts an upper limit on who he can marry. And marriage is really more about family than anything else. You already pointed out how rare male-female friendships are.
    Did you see Eva Longoria may be marrying a guy 10 years younger than her? I hope this guy steps up and they have many kids. She wants them bad.

  4. Nkosazana,

    “Creepy. I never saw the appeal of an older gent on top of me.”

    …Lol. You phrase things in the funniest way.

    I know there is an appeal somewhere; maybe some women feel they are more experienced and/or more stable? I’m not including the ones who are looking for a father figure or a rich older man.

    “Btw you are really pumping these articles out lol :D”

    I am? Well, I’m pretty much back at my pace before the hiatus: a post every other day or so. But I have been writing more lately so I might have some ready-made articles, depending on if I choose to publish them or not.

  5. Hi BWLivingWell,

    Of course you’ll be married by 30s or 40s… probably way before then. I’ve always pictured you as part of a couple.

    “I wonder if our opinions on this have been influenced by our parents age differences (my parent’s age gap is 10 yrs).”

    Probably so. I think people whose parents have a significant age gap between them will be more likely to engage in such relationships or go the opposite way if they perceived the age difference to be problematic.

    “he hardly notices their 25 year age difference.”

    “He would when the health issues of older age start popping up”

    Ha, well Julian is a cardiologist and heart/cardiovascular diseases are some of the most common age-related ailments. So at least he can treat her if/when they occur. 🙂

    He is also not extremely young himself (but not old either) — 36. But he really wasn’t thinking at all about the age difference and how that might become a problem in the future. He was just so enthralled with her, and understandably, because Erica is a very fascinating character. Much more alluring than the younger women.

  6. Tim,

    “Same age relationships are best but if the older man wants a kid that puts an upper limit on who he can marry. And marriage is really more about family than anything else.”

    How many dating older men actually want children?

    I don’t come across many who do (not that I’m very experienced with older men or anything). Because usually the guy has already been married and had children, or he is an incurable bachelor (as is the case with Harry).

    “Did you see Eva Longoria may be marrying a guy 10 years younger than her? I hope this guy steps up and they have many kids. She wants them bad.”

    I didn’t know about that, but I hope Eva finds what she’s looking for. Her guy is pretty young, and in Hollywood. That doesn’t bode well for long-term familial commitment, but we’ll all wait and see.

  7. Oh, I love this film! Even Keanu was (somewhat) decent.

    My favourite moments are when Harry asks Erica what she uses for birth control, and she says: “menopause”, and the scene with “Dancing Henrys”.

    I like this film, and I’m not a fan of romantic comedies. But I loved it because, unlike most of the romantic comedies, you could really buy the story. Diane Keaton was beautiful/classy/intelligent in it and I could totally buy that a younger man would fall for her, as well as an age-appropriate guy who otherwise dates young women.

    PS- What does “Something’s Gotta Give” mean? In my country, the title was translated as “Anybody but you” (or something close to it).

  8. Mira, oh great, you’ve seen the film? 🙂

    Perfect, because I thought about you during Keanu Reeves’ scenes, for two reasons. One because I remembered you saying all/most men look better with longer hair and Keanu really does look better with his hair longer. Normally he’s just “meh” to me, but he was gorgeous in this film. Also because I remembered you saying people were claiming Keanu had Asperger’s syndrome because they were trying to excuse his bad acting (lol). He did better here, but he was still very off, especially in relation to the other more vibrant characters.

    I loved Diane Keaton here too. Wasn’t she just brilliant? She became one of my favorite actresses after this movie.

    I could be off, but I think “Something’s Gotta Give” means that, under pressure, something has to give in or change in some way. I guess that refers to Harry — he inevitably had to change his bachelor ways or suffer the consequence of never truly having a loving relationship.

  9. Mira, oh great, you’ve seen the film? 🙂

    Yes, and I loved it! I could watch it again.

    Perfect, because I thought about you during Keanu Reeves’ scenes, for two reasons. One because I remembered you saying all/most men look better with longer hair and Keanu really does look better with his hair longer.

    Oh. Yes.

    I don’t know why. But most mend DO look better with longer hair. I have no idea why; they just do.

    Well, Keanu is a handsome guy, no doubt about that. I like his eyes; I like that type of eyes: dark and slightly (not sure how to say it and not to be offensive- “slanted” is a bad word to use).

    Seriously. I can’t think of any man who looks better with his hair short. The ONLY exception is Josh Hartnett, I think. I don’t know what went wrong in his case. Except here (he’s hot in this photo):
    (note the eyes again, I sure love that type of eyes):

    He’s another of those actors who can seem wooden and emotionless (that’s why he was so good in Mozart and the Whale). He’s still a better actor than Keanu, though.

    But I don’t think any of them do have Asperger’s. Maybe they’re just too shy in real life, which makes me wonder why pursuing and acting career? You should be relaxed enough on stage/in front of cameras to be good. Take Gary Oldman, for example. 😉

    Normally he’s just “meh” to me, but he was gorgeous in this film. Also because I remembered you saying people were claiming Keanu had Asperger’s syndrome because they were trying to excuse his bad acting (lol). He did better here, but he was still very off, especially in relation to the other more vibrant characters.

    I agree: there’s something “strange” about him in the movies, like he’s unable to connect to his co-stars. I’ve heard people at the Belgrade film academy call it “soloing”. Like he’s alone in there, just delivering his lines, without emotion or any connection to his co-stars. He could be a really bad actor, but maybe he has some sort of condition, who knows? I’ve heard he’s really sweet in real life, not at all emotionless.

    I loved Diane Keaton here too. Wasn’t she just brilliant? She became one of my favorite actresses after this movie.

    I like her because she seems both classy and sweet, and you don’t get that often. I could see her as both a lady and a mother figure. Not sure how to explain. She was also good in Marvin’s Room. Have you seen that one? It’s one of those heavy family dramas, but it’s good. Her co-stars are Meryl Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s quite good, but you have to be in a mood for it (it’s depressing).

    I could be off, but I think “Something’s Gotta Give” means that, under pressure, something has to give in or change in some way.

    That’s what I thought. But I thought that, maybe, it’s a popular saying or something. I think it definitely explains Harry’s situation.

  10. >> but maybe he has some sort of condition (Keanu)

    He’s Canadian. 🙂
    I really like him and his movie choices even if he is “soloing”, which is a good way to put it.

    >>I hope Eva finds what she’s looking for

    yeah, she doesn’t make the choices you would expect from a woman who says she really wants kids. She should call me and wear something casual. CeCe (awkwardblackgirl.com) can pick it out!

  11. He’s Canadian. 🙂

    Huh? Is this some kind of a USA vs Canada thing that I don’t get? (Face it, people: you’re Basically The Same TM) (joke, joke!)

    I really like him and his movie choices even if he is “soloing”, which is a good way to put it.

    I don’t think I could ever forgive him Dracula. Sure, the whole movie was camp, but I just loved Gary Oldman in it so much and I could barely stand Winona Ryder, let alone Keanu. It was so distracting!

  12. you’re Basically The Same
    HaHa! Thank you, but Canadians are much nicer. And more practical. They spend their money on healthcare while we spend ours on oil and bombs.

    Keanu has grossed nearly 4 billion dollars in his movies, that is pretty amazing. I guess he isn’t interesting enough to save a bad movie but he doesn’t get in the way of a good movie.

  13. Mira,

    Lol, I know of men who look better with shorter hair. I think a lot of it depends on head and face shape. Keanu definitely looks better with longer hair though; love that picture.

    I don’t know what’s wrong with Keanu, maybe he does have a condition. Because he just can’t seem to bring any life to his roles. I wonder why he always stars in good movies — maybe his looks?

    I haven’t seen Marvin’s Room but I’ll definitely put it (high) on my list of films to watch.

  14. Tim,

    Lol. Canadians are surely more practical.

    Keanu’s stiffness works for certain films, like The Matrix. But it just seems so off on others. However, like mentioned, he plays a doctor in this film and to be honest, some physicians seem “absent” as he is here.

  15. Lol, I know of men who look better with shorter hair. I think a lot of it depends on head and face shape.

    Well, it sure depends. I guess I’m just biased here. Definitely don’t take my word on it. I sure think most men look better with longish hair.

    Leaning definitely looks better with longer hair though; love that picture.

    Which one?

    I wonder why he always stars in good movies — maybe his looks?

    Well, I wouldn’t call “Speed” and the like “good movies”, but I get what you mean, Yes, it’s the looks. There’s nothing else that could be; he owes his fame and fortune to his physical appearance. Isn’t that sad? (I’m glad to hear he’s a nice person, though. It makes it less bad.. a little).

    I haven’t seen Marvin’s Room but I’ll definitely put it (high) on my list of films to watch.

    I recommend it, but make sure you’re in the mood. It is depressing.

  16. Mira, I meant to say Keanu not Leaning. I typed that from my phone, which tries to figure out which word you’re typing and fills in a known word if it doesn’t recognize the one you’re typing. It fails miserably most of time.

    “he owes his fame and fortune to his physical appearance. Isn’t that sad?”

    Well, that’s how it is with many famous women, so how about the men for a change? 🙂

    Oh, let me see who looks better with shorter hair… Takeshi Kaneshiro. And Daniel Henney.

  17. lol, I see what happened.

    Well, that’s how it is with many famous women, so how about the men for a change? 🙂

    It’s still unfair.

    Oh, let me see who looks better with shorter hair… Takeshi Kaneshiro. And Daniel Henney.

    Nope, I disagree. Especially when it comes to Daniel Henney.

  18. Mira,

    Lol. I think it’s just your liking for long hair. Because to me they both look much better with shorter hair.

    “It’s still unfair.”

    Yeah… But then women also need eye candy. Julian (Keanu) was great in this film (looks-wise :)), especially when they were in Paris and he had on that scarf. I couldn’t believe Erica left him for Harry. Like that would ever happen in real life! 😛

  19. Alee,

    Could be. I do like long hair on men. Ok, the way I sound online, one would think I’m obsessed with it. I am not. But I do think most men look better with more hair, that’s all.

    Yeah… But then women also need eye candy.
    I agree. I just think it’s sad eye candy people can earn so much money even if they’re talentless.

    Julian (Keanu) was great in this film (looks-wise 🙂 ), especially when they were in Paris and he had on that scarf. I couldn’t believe Erica left him for Harry. Like that would ever happen in real life! 😛

    I agree he was good looking, but I didn’t find it unrealistic that she left him for Harry. After all, she did seem to have a better chemistry with Harry, though that might be due to Keanu’s lack of acting talent (after all, they did date in real life, so I don’t understand the lack of chemistry. Maybe the guy does have Asperger’s).

  20. I love Something’s Gotta Give, I’m a big Jack Nicholson fan. I can’t say I can see him as a love interest but then again I’ve never met the man. But for some reason I can always see me and Robert DeNiro hitting it off real well LOL. Being 39 years now and 37 when I started dating after my divorce, I met a lot of older men, they were either a lot older or a lot younger. Most men in my age group were married or in LTRs so dating in the mid-section can be tough. I got lucky when I found someone 3 years younger than me and with no children and nice to boot. I think the health thing can something to consider not for having babies sake but just b/c you’re older and health can wane. I’m a 32 year type 1 diabetic, the sweets and I had to have a long talk about that pretty early on. B/c if he wanted kids, I wasn’t the woman and I could suffer so complications with my health as I get older but so far, so fantastic. But I see many older couples, not sure if they are married or dating but they look footloose and fancy-free to me at least on the outside.

    Ah and yes Keanu was especially cute in this movie, even though he was once again playing Keanu Reeves but I still love him.

  21. Mira,

    “I do like long hair on men. Ok, the way I sound online, one would think I’m obsessed with it.”

    Just a tiny bit. 😉

    But we all have our obsessions…

    Diane Keaton and Keanu Reeves dated in real life?! That’s news to me… very interesting.

    I just thought that Harry didn’t have as much going for him. Besides age and appearance, he wasn’t even ready to settle down and hadn’t been for decades. I wouldn’t just trust him because he said he’s changed.

  22. eugeniamb,
    I love Something’s Gotta Give, I’m a big Jack Nicholson fan. I can’t say I can see him as a love interest

    I can! 😉

    (ok, this will sound super creepy but I used to have a crush on him. When I was very young. Don’t ask. I can’t explain it.)

    Diane Keaton and Keanu Reeves dated in real life?! That’s news to me… very interesting.

    Yes, they were dating. According to gossip news at least.

    You’re right about dating in the mid-section…

    Alee,

    Just a tiny bit. 😉

    Ok, I’ll stop talking about it. I promise. Maybe I should do a post on it and leave other people’s blogs free from my obsessions?

  23. Eugenia,

    For some reason, I knew you were a big Jack Nicholson fan. I don’t know if you mentioned it on your site, or if it’s because he (sort of) fits the phenotype of the men you like. 🙂

    “Ah and yes Keanu was especially cute in this movie, even though he was once again playing Keanu Reeves

    Lol!

    @Mira,

    You use to have a crush on Jack?! Well, maybe it’s the personality, but even that…

    You don’t have to stop talking about it. I don’t mind at all. 🙂

  24. I like him as an actor today. I really don’t understand why I had a crush on him. I mean, I can’t explain it.

  25. @Alee I don’t know I like them rough and rugged sometimes. The list of men I find attractive is all over the map, it makes absolutely no sense even to me. LOL. Here lately I’ve started to have this weird thing about Russell Brand it’s creeping me the heck out.

    And as for Keanu, I swear him, Kevin Costner and Vince Vaughn (especially Vaughn) all play themselves in movies. It’s not like I don’t like all them, I do.

    @Mira oh the young Nicholson, oh yea well I’m all over that LOL.

  26. Eugenia, some thought Jack Nicholson played himself in this movie. I find that interesting, to say the least, but I don’t know enough about his off-screen character to comment on that.

  27. @Alee he may have, I see some of his kind slyness in this character. But I notice in real life he seems more protective and tad violent at times not so happy go lucky or ne’er do well thing he did in the movie. At least to me.

  28. eugeniamb,

    Oh, no, no. Jack was old (well, middle aged). I was extremely young.

    Alee,

    I think Jack prefers to date younger women, but he has nothing in common with them. <- His words, not mine.

  29. He’s kind of an intense guy, I think that’s why I like him. I think that’s why DeNiro too b/c DeNiro does not exactly look easy to get along with. Why I would find that attractive I don’t know LOL. I think it’s my thing about being secure and stable and in an odd sense they both seem that way.

  30. @Mira the “One’s Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”/”The Shining” Jack or like the ‘Witches of Eastwick’ Jack or a favorite of mine “A Few Good Men’ Jack. I personally loved him in ‘The Departed’ but I love gangster movies.

  31. Okay, now I get it. When that came out I was 15 yrs old. It was a little scary, as it seemed to have started out as a comedy but turned fairly quickly. His character in ‘The Shining’ freaks the hey out of me. I love that movie but it’s hard to watch. It’s like watching ‘A Clockwork Orange’ or ‘Apocalypse now’ I love the movies but after I watch them I have nightmares.

  32. “Diane Keaton and Keanu Reeves dated in real life?! That’s news to me… very interesting.”

    I didn’t know that either and looked it up, and came up with this:
    Keanu Reeves Can’t Believe Diane Keaton Is 59

    I saw “Something’s Gotta Give” a long time ago, and I remember liking it. I need to watch it again so I can remember more specifics.

    “I loved Diane Keaton here too. Wasn’t she just brilliant? She became one of my favorite actresses after this movie.”

    I like her too. She has no problem aging and looking her age (unlike some older actresses who hit the Botox as soon as they get the inkling of a wrinkle) and I love her quirky off-beat style.

    Do you watch any of the earlier Woody Allen films? I love “Annie Hall” (she was basically playing herself since her real name is Diane Hall and “Annie” is her nickname) and “Manhattan Murder Mystery.”

  33. “I was like, ‘whoa, dude, no way she’s old enough to be my mother.”

    ~ Keanu Reeves

    lol!

    She has no problem aging and looking her age (unlike some older actresses who hit the Botox as soon as they get the inkling of a wrinkle)

    I agree. Well, I don’t know if she uses botox or something (you never know when it comes to celebrities), but I do agree many actresses start way too young, with horrible results.

    And I liked Annie Hall. Though Woody Allen makes me nervous.

  34. @Eugenia,

    Maybe this quote of Jack’s from the link changingmoods added says a bit about how he is off-screen:

    “[Keanu] didn’t pursue his interest in Keaton until Nicholson had told him she was in her early thirties.”

    “I was just messing with his head,” said Nicholson. “I didn’t think the doofus would believe me. I mean, the broad doesn’t look bad for her age, but she was spending five hours in make up every morning, and that wasn’t her keister in the nude scene.”

    Uhhh. Interesting way of putting it. 🙂

    changingmoods,

    I like that she allows her wrinkles to show too. Some women are quick to try to get rid of them with anti-wrinkle creams or the like, but I think wrinkles can add character to a woman’s face.

    I haven’t seen any Woody Allen films (to my knowledge). Which is really weird because many of my friends are Woody Allen fans and I’ve watched stuff about him, just never his movies. I’ve heard of Annie Hall, and plan on watching it.

  35. @Alee, now that’s direct. I must say, I like his directness. Too most people that is impolite and it is but it’s also direct and probably honest. You don’t get that from ppl most ppl do too much beating around the bush, trying to make you guess what they mean. That was a tad wicked of Jack, but little naive of Keanu she don’t look 30 even on her best day. I’m not against aging gracefully but Keanu…really. LOL.

  36. Frankly, Jack seems like one of those guys who make perfect friends, but horrible romantic partners.

    Speaking of Keanu, Speed is on TV tomorrow, and I just HAVE TO watch that one!

  37. Eugenia, yes, he’s a bit blunt… bordering on tactless. If that’s how he is on a regular basis I agree with Mira.

  38. “Eugenia, yes, he’s a bit blunt… bordering on tactless. If that’s how he is on a regular basis I agree with Mira.”

    Yeah, I agree. And the comment he made…

    “the broad doesn’t look bad for her age”

    …sounds brash and sexist. “The broad”?!

  39. @Alee oh I see why he’s blunt, he’s a Taurus, yea that’s what we do. We are blunt and direct and if you don’t really know us well, its easy to take it the wrong way. Because sometimes we’re trying to be tactless but sometimes we just say what needs to be said but not trying to hurt feelings. I often taken wrong so I have to choose my words carefully I know that. Actually I call women ‘broads’ too sometimes LOL. But I must say unlike Gemini we put thought behind our words, if a Taurus says something it is not by accident they put thought behind those words even if they are blunt.

  40. changingmoods,

    Exactly. The way Jack speaks in that interview is similar to Harry in Something’s Gotta Give — crudely. So maybe people are right in saying that he played himself here.

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