Movie review: And So It Goes

By Peter Calder

1 comment
Douglas and Keaton should have avoided And So It Goes at all costs.
Douglas and Keaton should have avoided And So It Goes at all costs.

Rob Reiner has made some great films, but they were all in the 1980s: Stand By Me, The Princess Bride and When Harry Met Sally were each perfect examples of their genre.

This excruciating odd-couple comedy is a perfect example, too, of what happens when a bad script is greenlit because of the talent attached.

Screenwriter Mark Andrus wrote As Good As It Gets, though his three turns at bat since, including the appalling Life As a House and Georgia Rule, have been strikeouts. He cannot, presumably, do worse than this, a film with a title that practically shrugs with contempt for the audience.

Douglas plays Oren Little, a curmudgeonly widower nearing retirement after a lucrative career in real estate; Keaton is his neighbour, Leah, a widow and bad lounge bar singer who is -- now here's something new -- brittle and neurotic and squealing. They argue a lot. Yep, you guessed what happens in the end, but the getting there is truly painful.

Writer and director chuck in every distraction that ever got mentioned in a brainstorming session ("Hey! Let's have a guy in a suit slip over on a lawn waterslide!"; "How about a baby being born in the lounge?") and introduce a long-lost son and a surprise granddaughter (who will turn Oren from monstrously cruel cynic to a softie, suddenly and inexplicably).

The film takes an extraordinary amount of time setting up its premise, puts nothing at stake for anyone, and dashes up narrative side-roads without warning. Basic plausibility blunders abound: a character who turns up without luggage later produces pyjamas from a suitcase; a character who engages in very casual sex is given the morning-after line "I don't do casual sex"; an accompanist helps Leah audition for a new gig, apparently unconcerned that she will leave his established residency without a vocalist.

Watch the trailer for And So It Goes here:

The cast will pull in punters this film does not deserve, even though both Douglas and Keaton might as well have phoned their performances in. Reiner, incidentally, plays that accompanist -- in a bad wig whose only purpose is to sustain a joke about how bad his wig is; he's also the falling-over guy in the suit. When the director's doing the pratfalls, you know a film's in trouble. Dreadful.

Cast: Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton
Director: Rob Reiner
Running time: 94 mins
Rating: M (sexual references)
Verdict: Excruciatingly awful odd-couple romcom

- TimeOut

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