With the transition from one city to another, I haven’t had much time to look at all the movies coming out this week. So in my brief spare time I decided to deviate from my normal action regime and instead head into something a little more realistic. My movie this weekend is one starring legends Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton, who are thrown together in a dramatic romantic comedy. So let’s get cracking on my review of And So It Goes.
The premise for this movie is very simple; a self-involved real estate agent named Oren (Douglas) is forced to reexamine his life when he meets his granddaughter (Sterling Jerins). Unsure of what to do in his new role, Oren turns to his neighbor Leah (Keaton) for assistance and a little bit of self-discovery. It’s the same plot we’ve seen many times, only this time it is not presented by Hallmark Channel in one of their weekly Saturday night premiers. And So It Goes’ story is a predictable plot, with an ending once can see coming within the first twenty minutes of the tale. Unfortunately the predictability is not offset with a decent pace, as the opening scenes are slow repeats of what we saw in the trailer. Sure there were a few good chuckles along the way, but my interest and enjoyment didn’t start until the granddaughter arrives. From there the tale is cute, with Oren beginning to self examine his life, as those around him become a makeshift family. Some of the scenes could have had much more effect had they introduced it later in the film, while others were rather pointless or ambiguous. Character development occurred somewhat in this tale, though the backstories of the characters were rushed, only mentioned in a brief scream of outrage or crying fit, before resolving in minutes. Such deep flaws and emotional scars are not addressed in a matter of days, but take serious therapy and time to address. Yet in this movie, these problems were blown over in a matter of minutes, with some breakthrough occurring at just the right time.
Acting wise the team is solid. Despite the lackluster story, Douglas breathes life into the movie in the way he presents the dialogue. First of all, his character is believable, despite the enormous ego that he presents. Douglas has a way of playing the arrogant jerk, who starts out like Scrooge, so stingy with his emotions only to have a heart change in the final act. His anger comes out in a reasonable manner and his mistakes with the relationship are real and not some out of control mistake where the character is acting overly stupid. When he tries to make up for his mistakes, they come out awkward, the uncertainty of their success only offset by the inevitable happy ending that lies at hand. Yet it’s his comedic presentation that is my favorite quality, his twists and emphasis on certain words providing the kick you need to get a good laugh. Keaton offsets the jerk comedy though with her usual down to earth self, though this time with more tears. Her character is a bit over emotional, crying at the slightest whim, which limits her dialog. However, she still plays that motherly role she has perfected, and one that still gives me goose bumps at her sincerity. Keaton’s got a few good lines here and there, but she is more of the supporting role for all the other characters. Jerins does a nice job playing an innocent ten-year-old girl, though this shouldn’t be too surprising since she is about that age. Her character is also a mere tool to drive the character development, but at least wasn’t a whiny brat as many young actors are these days.
Overall the acting is fine, but the humor is the best part of this movie. Unlike most comedies, this film relies on dry humor and wits. The dialogue is simple, with sarcastic responses and simple insults that you have heard from your friends and family. While there is a lack of lines that would become the newest t-shirt logo, the realistic responses and timing much better than a thousand taglines. The fact that these jabs were diverse and spanned out also helped make things more enjoyable and less stale. Again Douglas’ character gets the best lines, and has the best timing, but overall the dialog is fun and balanced. As for other humor, there are a few other things that will get a chuckle. The facial expressions of a few of the characters are over dramatized, but get a few laughs when placed in the awkward situations. Those looking for slapstick humor though should avoid this, because the clumsy antics and stupid stunts are nowhere in sight in this film.
And So It Goes is a very simple movie, filled with moments that are meant to teach a lesson and pull at the heartstrings. The audience who will enjoy the movie the most are the grandparents who deal with the issues at hand, but this is a movie that many adults can see and enjoy. I don’t recommend bringing younger audience members, since there is a lack of flair that most of the current generation will appreciate. Overall this movie isn’t really one worth a trip to the theater, but would make for a nice movie night in when given the chance. My scores for And So It Goes are:
Comedy/Drama/ Romance: 7.0
Movie Overall: 6.0