Friday, July 25, 2014

And So It Goes - 1 1/2 stars

Whatever happened to Rob Reiner?  The man who gave us This Is Spinal Tap, Stand By Me, The Princess Bride, Misery and A Few Good Men should know a bad script when he sees one.  But he went ahead and made And So It Goes anyway. 

Written by Mark Andrus, this movie wants to be another As Good As It Gets (also written by Andrus).  But that movie did a much better job of giving us an unlikeable character and redeeming him by the end.  I'm also tempted to say that Jack Nicholson is much better at playing that type of character than Michael Douglas, but Douglas is given a really bad script to work with here, and I don't think I can blame him.

Douglas plays Oren Little, a rich real estate agent who's trying to sell his $10 million home.  He's living in one of the apartment complexes he owns and being a total dick to everyone else who lives there.  He has no problem taking the closest parking spot so that his pregnant neighbor has to walk a long way to her car every day.  He's also a racist.  When a Mexican couple arrive to look at his house, he immediately dismisses them, because he can't imagine they can afford a house like that.

Oh, but his wife died not too long ago.  The first scene shows him placing flowers on her grave.  This is so that we feel sorry for him, and realize that his grief is probably the reason he is such a jerk.

One day his estranged son shows up.  It seems that his son is going to jail for some white collar crime, and he needs Oren to look after his daughter while he is away.  Oren is the type of guy who has no interest in getting to know the granddaughter he never knew he had, and luckily Leah (Diane Keaton) is there to take care of the girl.  Leah's story is simply that she's a lonely widow and a lounge singer.  She can't get through a song without breaking into tears because each song seems to remind her of her late husband.

There isn't much here to recommend.  The movie isn't funny enough to be a comedy, and I didn't care as much about the characters as the movie wanted me to.  As Oren softens up, like we know he will, it doesn't feel like the change is earned.  He just seems to get tired of being such a jerk and starts to lighten up.

A few other distracting things in the movie:

1. Rob Reiner playing Leah's piano player.  This isn't the first time Reiner has cast himself in his own movie, but I think it's the most distracting.  I usually enjoy him as an actor - his presence really added a lot to The Wolf of Wall Street - but he was distracting in this movie.  Not that another actor would have saved the movie or anything, but he and his bad toupe really bugged me here.

2. The childbirth scene.  From the moment we meet his pregnant neighbor, you just know that she's going to end up giving birth before the movie is over, and Oren will be involved.  Of course he's going to have to deliver the baby himself, and of course help won't arrive until it's all over.  That's some really bad sitcom level writing right there.

There is really no reason to see this movie.

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