Director: Rob Reiner Writer: Mark Andrus Starring: Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton, Sterling Jerins Runtime: 94 min Rating: PG-13
I consider romantic comedies to be the genre everyone likes but secretly likes to pretend they don’t. Throughout the years I have evolved from this to an individual that can safely say “hey, I love a good rom com” without feeling nervous about the impending judgment of the people around me. I don’t consider romantic comedies to be the most artistic modes of expression when it comes to film, but they certainly provide a wholesome temporary escape from the woes of daily life. Unfortunately, the doors of the cinema seemed like a more entertaining escape than anything this new comedy tried to provide the spectator.
Michael Douglas stars as Oren Little, a successful realtor that after suffering numerous family woes, has built a hard shell around himself and has become cranky and miserable. After his son asks for his help taking care of his granddaughter Sarah (Sterling Jerins), Oren places the responsibility on Leah (Diane Keaton), his spunky next door neighbor, who despite considering Oren obnoxious, cannot help but want to help the young girl deal with her crabby grandfather. Although reluctantly, Oren will have to learn how to take care of this new member of his family, and through Sarah, he will learn the compassion he had long forgotten. With the help of Leah he will rid himself of demons he had been too scared to let go of, and hopefully learn how to love someone again.
It pains me to say this, but this is not one of Douglas’s best works. I blame this entirely on the fact that Oren is a completely uninteresting character, who from the beginning is presented as self-centered and egotistical. Despite how human the film tries to turn him by the end, he remains unimpressive, and the horrifyingly dull dialogue given to him is permanently unremarkable through the duration of the feature. Not even Diane Keaton’s usual grace can save the film from its utter lack of charm. Both actors have seen much better days, and although this is a mere pebble in both their careers, I hope they can stray from making decisions like this in the future. I would hate to think that the quality of Rob Reiner’s films has come to this, and I desperately want to see him go back to the great hits that The Bucket List and When Harry Met Sally were. It especially pains me to see that Mark Andrus, writer of the iconic As Good As It Gets can also be capable of writing what seems like a lazy and uninspired script.
I might be judging the film somewhat harshly, but it is only because I am absolutely tired of the same old formula this movie follows, and I know the director and cast are capable of so much more. Not only is the plot completely predictable and full of clichés, but there are numerous racist jokes throughout it that honestly had no relevance in the plot, if not only to highlight how unfunny the “Casually racist old white male” trope has become. And So It Goes’ absolute lack of wit really makes it feel completely uninspired, and the variety of jokes that just can’t manage to get the punch line right really don’t help it be an enjoyable experience. Not only this, but the completely dated feeling the music, cinematography, and story evoke really just made the overall experience sour. In the future, whenever I think of Reiner’s, Keaton’s and Douglas’s filmographies, I will pretend like this never happened, and think of better days for all of them.