And So It Goes

Jul 24, 2014

Guest critic Linda Bass McClelland likes Keaton's singing in And So It Goes.

Film Reviewed: And So It Goes

Director: Rob Reiner (When Harry Met Sally)

Screenplay: Mark Andrus (As Good as It Gets)

Cast: Michael Douglas (Wall Street), Diane Keaton (Annie Hall)

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 94 min.

by Linda Baas McClelland

Rob Reiner's new movie "And So it Goes" takes aim at an older audience with the theme of finding one last great romance late in life.  Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton are together for the first time on film. Sounds promising, doesn't it?  The opening scene is backed by the song "Both Sides Now".  Viewers are thinking, "Oh, this could be good!"  Think again.  Reiner misses the mark

Michael Douglas plays Oren Little, a realtor still recovering from his wife's death.  But sympathy for him quickly fades as Oren shows his true colors.  He owns a four-family condo, where he lives while trying to sell his own home for $8 million, plus. After a day showing prospective buyers his perfectly-appointed Connecticut estate, all he wants to do is settle back with a martini (two olives) while throwing insults at his neighbors. One of his targets is Leah, played by Diane Keaton, an aspiring lounge singer, also mourning the loss of her mate; with much eye rolling  she tries to endure Oren's cruel remarks.

Douglas is experienced at playing abrasive, nasty characters. Keaton is good at playing Keaton, a big hearted, loveable ditz, all the while wearing some familiar “Annie Hall” outfits.

Oren's son, Kyle (Austin Lysy), shows up on his way to prison. He hands over his daughter, Sarah (Sterling Jerins),  hoping Oren will take responsibility for her while he does time. Oren didn't even know he had a granddaughter! He has no interest in caring for this beautiful little girl. It’s  distracting to believe she was fathered by the ugly actor playing her dad.

Oren wants nothing to do with his granddaughter.  He presses Leah to take on the role as her guardian.  She, of course, agreeably takes on the task. How will the problem be resolved?  Will these two 60 something’s mend their differences, care for the child and fall in love? Come on, not to be trite, but, is the Pope a Catholic?

The story line is flimsy: It’s hard to swallow that the Douglas and Keaton characters fall in love so quickly after an awkward, dreadful, first kiss and then take a quick trip to the bedroom.  They have no  chemistry in comparison to when she and Jack Nicholson heated up the screen making late-in-life romance believable in "Something's Got To Give."

There are some humorous moments: The verbal volleys between Oren and his real estate partner, played by Frances Sternhagen, are entertaining.  The strong cast makes the most of the predictable plot. Diane Keaton's singing is very enjoyable. She sings "The Shadow of Your Smile" beautifully.

In the end, Mark Andrus (As Good as It Gets) could have written a more believable story about finding great love late in life. It would include both the soaring joy and crashing pain that comes with the territory. And it might not have a happy ending.

 "And So it Goes," and so it went.  

Linda Baas McClelland, a frequent contributor to It's Movie Time, is an interior designer.