“Goes” Beneath its Stars
Rob Reiner’s And So It Goes is the sort of movie that, when someone asks you how it was, you’re likely to say, “It was OK.” Not god-awful and certainly not good, it’s the sort of film that you forget by the time you’ve walked to your car in the parking lot after the final credits roll. Woefully predictable, chockfull of clichés and flatly executed, even fans of its two stars, Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton are likely to be disappointed by this production which is obviously beneath their talent.
Real estate salesman par excellence Oren Little (Douglas) is one bitter old man. Refusing to move on from the tragic death of his wife, he’s willingly thrown his filter out the window and lets fly with his opinion on anything or any one at anytime. He’s alienated his neighbor Leah (Diane Keaton) long ago as well as the other tenants at the apartment building he owns and lives in. However, things take a turn in a conveniently dramatic fashion when Sarah (Sterling Jerins), the granddaughter he never knew, is unceremoniously dumped in his lap by Luke (Scott Shepherd), the son he alienated long ago. Seems he’s on his way to jail for a short stretch and there’s no one else who can watch her.
It comes as no surprise that the curmudgeon’s heart begins to melt once Sarah’s doe-like eyes gaze upon him and it certainly isn’t shocking when Leah takes the young girl under her wing and Oren begins to look at her in a different light. It’s obvious that screenwriter Mark Andrus is cribbing from his own script for As Good as It Gets, as the structure and plot points are virtually the same though they don’t come off nearly as fresh. Not only is there very little original at play here but things happen very quickly with little explanation. Oren’s transformation from jerk to nice guy happens far too quickly and with little encouragement while his reconciliation with his son comes from out of left field. The story might be familiar but Reiner, who also appears as a would-be suitor for Leah, might at the very least have taken the time to develop the plot in order to make the characters and the situations they find themselves in more realistic.
As for Douglas and Keaton, it goes without saying that they are consummate pros, and while she does her best to turn this sow’s ear of a movie into something passable, her manic enthusiasm isn’t up to the task. Meanwhile, Douglas seems to be sleepwalking here, barely breaking a sweat, giving just enough of an effort not to embarrass himself but little more. Though he’s too old for the part, I couldn’t help but think that Clint Eastwood would be better suited as Oren as in his later years he’s become an expert at playing roles of this sort, taking no prisoners while snapping off one bitter insult after another, only to find his humanity in the final reel. As it is, Douglas appears as though he’s simply killing time here, something I was forced to do while sitting through this half-hearted effort.