In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb large ouygaatyh4jzithj6fi3uyf31ri

Wonder

You’ll shed a tear or two—especially if you’re a parent—and they’ll be totally earned.

Thumb mv5bztg3yteznjytzty2ns00yjnmltlhnjutzti2m2e5ndi4m2njxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymzi3mdezmzm . v1 sy1000 cr0 0 675 1000 al

Mudbound

The film invites us to observe its characters, to hear their inner voices, to see what they see and to challenge our own preconceived notions…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Journal Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

And So It Goes

And So It Goes Movie Review
  |  

"And So It Goes" does what it needs to do for its target audience in thoroughly sufficient, mediocre ways. An unlikely romance between widows in their 60s, it aims to charm older, underserved moviegoers—those who get a "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" or some such only about once a year—but it does so with barely a trace of wit, verve or inspiration.

It’s fine. It’s just not good.

It’s also not "As Good As It Gets," even though both films share the same screenwriter (Mark Andrus), misanthropic male protagonists and interchangeably forgettable titles.

Advertisement

Rob Reiner is firmly in late-career mode here, playing it safe and hitting all the expected notes as he directs veterans Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton, who are nothing if not total pros as they try to breathe life into such strained material. During the moments when "And So It Goes" isn’t overreaching for wacky laughs or going all gooey and soggy—when Douglas and Keaton’s characters have the opportunity to open themselves up to each other, quietly—Reiner’s film can be effective and even enjoyable. But those moments are rare.

More often, they’re bickering or awkwardly flirting as they reach their inevitable destination of canned romantic bliss.

Douglas, as longtime Connecticut real estate agent Oren Little, is very much in the mode of Jack Nicholson’s curmudgeonly "As Good As It Gets" character, Melvin Udall. He’s turned cranky and cruel since his wife’s death from cancer a decade ago, unleashing his vitriol on children and the elderly, strangers and longtime colleagues alike. He’s a casually racist drunk and he hates dogs. Surely he is due for a change of heart.

Keaton co-stars as Leah Hartman, Oren’s next-door neighbor in the quaint, waterfront fourplex where he’s living while he tries to sell his $8.6 million mansion. Her husband also died a while ago; since then, she’s tried to reinvent herself as a lounge singer and serves as the building’s de facto den mother. (Reiner stops the film for large portions of time to let Keaton warble classic tunes in a heartfelt whisper. It is very uncomfortable to watch.) Basically, she is every character Keaton has played for the past decade or so: flighty and full of supposedly lovable tics and quirks. Surely, she will facilitate Oren’s change of heart.

Advertisement

Actually, they change each other in speedy, implausible ways: He helps her toughen up, she helps him soften. Nothing here is a spoiler. The outcome is evident from the poster alone.

Here’s what forces the feel-goodery: Oren’s estranged son (Scott Shepherd), a recovering heroin addict, shows up one day out of nowhere and announces he has a 9-year-old daughter (Sterling Jerins). He also needs Oren to care for said daughter while he goes off to prison for the next nine months (for something he didn’t actually do, naturally). Do you think it’s possible that Oren and Leah will learn how to come together and function as a makeshift family for this shy, sweet little girl?

Oren has a penchant for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time—that is, until he promptly turns around and says the most perfect, poignant thing when it’s needed most. Similarly, in a moment that’s meant to be a sad goodbye, Oren will crack a terrible joke and ruin the mood. Reiner repeatedly makes these jarring shifts in tone, but mostly is working in sitcom mode. Whenever a Rottweiler appears, for example, you know it’ll either a) take a dump on the lawn or b) hump a giant, stuffed teddy bear.

Reiner himself actually appears in a small role as the supportive, toupeed pianist who accompanies Leah as she performs at a local restaurant. At one point while picking her up for a date, he accidentally steps onto a Slip ‘N Slide, falls flat on his butt and gets soaked. It’s an apt metaphor.


Popular Blog Posts

Why I Stopped Watching Woody Allen Movies

Stop watching movies made by assholes. It'll be OK.

“Call of Duty” and “Wolfenstein” Redefine the Modern WWII Game

A review of two of the biggest games of 2017, a pair that use World War II in very different ways.

Netflix's Marvel Spin-off "The Punisher" is a Lightweight

A review of Netflix's new Marvel series, "The Punisher."

The Messy Women of "Thor: Ragnarok"

Hela and Valkyrie are unusual for Marvel and blockbuster movies in general. Both are messy, complicated figures not n...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus