CINEMA RELEASE: AND SO IT GOES
Release date: 7th August 2014
Director: Rob Reiner
Cast: Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton, Scott Shepherd, Sterling Jerins, Frankie Valli
Classification: M (Sexual References)
Review by Peter Gray
You can’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu when watching ‘And So It Goes’, a supposed romantic comedy from director Rob Reiner who has clearly looked at features such as ‘As Good As It Gets’ for major inspiration. Managing to rope in another aging actor to play the cranky lead as opposed to the expected Jack Nicholson, Reiner (a filmmaker once capable of such gems as ‘Stand By Me’, ‘The Princess Bride’ and ‘When Harry Met Sally’) utilises Michael Douglas and the predictable Diane Keaton to stage this geriatric romance that is often not very funny at all, and is only kept barely afloat due to the experience and talent of its leads – even when they’re slumming as they are here.
Oren Little (Douglas) is a cynical, cantankerous old realtor who prides himself on his ability to sell multi-million dollar homes. Due to his inability to completely recover from the death of his wife, he’s kept everyone in his life at a distance, especially troubled son Luke (Scott Shepherd), an ex-junkie who is on the eve of a 12 month jail sentence. Hoping to sell his own home, one that comes with an $8 million dollar price range, Oren takes residence in “Little Shangri-La”, a subdivided house in Connecticut which he also happens to own. Nowhere near as idyllic as the name suggests, the complex is divided due to Oren’s bitter nature and the one person who has no qualms voicing her distain is Leah (Keaton), an aspiring lounge singer who is unable to get through an entire song without being reduced to tears at the thought of her own deceased husband. When Luke stops by Oren’s before his jail stint, he begs to have his daughter Sarah (Sterling Jerins) looked after – a task Oren quickly palms off to Leah.
From here the plot storms forward with a predictability that’s almost insulting as Oren and Leah are forced to spend time together, him realising her culinary skills are particularly impressive and learning just why she’s so maternal without having children of her own, and she seeing just why he fronts himself with such a hateful shield. Of course the character development here is something you can hardly take too seriously given the film spends so much time setting Oren up as the most hateful of people only to have him soften up enough that one of his neighbours trusts him enough to help deliver her baby when she goes into labour in her own home.
Whilst both Douglas and Keaton give their all, you can’t help but feel disheartened at the fact that their careers have been reduced to material like this; although given Keaton’s last few cinematic choices (‘Because I Said So’, ‘Mad Money’, ‘The Big Wedding’) this is stellar in comparison. And as for Rob Reiner? The embarrassment we feel for his uncredited turn as Leah’s piano player and wannabe lover is compensation for furthering his career down a slope that doesn’t seem to be in view of picking up.
‘And So It Goes’ (a title I was sure was to be audibly referenced at some point) isn’t a film worth rushing out to see but I won’t overlook the fact that it has been made with a specific audience in mind, and from that point of view it’s probable it will satisfy a few undemanding patrons who like their romances old and uncomplicated. The rest of us deserve better.
My rating: 1.5/5