Herald rating: * *
Middle-aged actresses often lament the lack of decent roles in Hollywood for them. Unfortunately this romantic comedy doesn't help their cause.
A veteran of classic films such as Annie Hall and The Godfather, Diane Keaton should have known better than to sign up for this kind of light and fluffy schmaltz, even if the director promised she would look great in her underwear.
Because I Said So is not the most enticing title for a romantic comedy, but is a statement many daughters have heard from their mothers.
Maggie (Graham), Mae (Perabo) and Milly (Moore) have heard it often from their overbearing and interfering mother Daphne Wilder (Keaton), whose main mission is to see her daughters happily married.
The two eldest are ensconced in marital bliss, so she turns her attention to her youngest, Milly, a gorgeous, young, successful caterer who doesn't look as if she needs help finding a date. Oh, but wait, she has a funny snorting laugh and is a little clumsy - yip, doomed to spinsterhood.
Daphne uses the internet to find a husband for her daughter, and after interviewing the predictable rabble of weirdos she comes across Jason (Everett Scott), an architect. She arranges an "accidental" meeting with her daughter.
Watching this play out is restaurant musician Johnny (Macht), who, appalled but intrigued by what Daphne is doing, goes in search of Milly himself.
Maybe it's the overacting, maybe it's the forced plot, maybe it's because the characters' sad and lonely lives still look pretty good - but Because I Said So just feels fake.
Keaton is the most annoying mother on the big screen so far this year, and Milly, for all her sweetness, doesn't think twice about secretly getting involved with two men at the same time.
There is some risque dialogue between the girls, which reminds you of Lehmann's more quirky works such as Heathers and The Truth About Cats and Dogs, and while it's unexpected and quite funny, in a straight Hollywood flick it comes across as crass and awkward.
Cast: Diane Keaton, Mandy Moore, Lauren Graham, Piper Perabo, Gabriel Macht
Director: Michael Lehmann
Running time: 102 mins
Rating: M, contains sexual references
Screening: SkyCity, Hoyts and Berkeley
Verdict: Be thankful Diane Keaton is not your mother