Keaton Sings! Douglas Finds Love! And So it Goes...
- Friday, July 25, 2014
Release Date: July 25, 2014
Rating: PG-13 for some sexual references and drug elements
Run Time: 94 min.
Director: Rob Reiner
Actors: Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton, Rob Reiner, Sterling Jerins, Scott Shepherd, Annie Parisse, Frances Sternhagen
It's been so long since Rob Reiner made a good movie that it’s hard to believe he once directed the great run of This Is Spinal Tap (1984) through When Harry Met Sally (1989). That’s a stretch of five films (also including Stand by Me and The Princess Bride) to rival, or even top, the best filmmaking streaks from great directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Altman and Alfred Hitchcock. That Reiner’s streak consisted of comedies—a difficult genre to get right once, much less consistently across several films—makes his streak all the more remarkable.
Trouble with consistency has characterized Reiner's output since his hot streak came to an end. Reiner's magic comedic touch failed him with North (1994), and after The American President (1995), audiences began rejecting the filmmaker's attempts at more serious material (Ghosts of Mississippi, 1996) and dramadies (The Story of Us (1999) and Alex and Emma (2003)). Even when Reiner scored another commercial hit with The Bucket List in 2007, he didn't win back the critical favor he'd enjoyed years earlier.
And So It Goes, the latest from Reiner, is unlikely to change that. Written by Mark Andrus (As Good as It Gets), And So It Goes begins with several forced, tasteless jokes about race and gender before settling into a familiar but not unpleasant story. Often flaccid in terms of laughs, And So It Goes benefits from the performances of Michael Douglas and, especially, Diane Keaton, who keep the film from being the unendingly painful experience it threatens to be early on.
Oren (Douglas, Last Vegas) is a real-estate agent trying to unload an overpriced property—his own home. He’s confident the right customer will come along, but he’s not above such tactics as trying to hook Asian buyers with pictures of Asian families in the picture frames placed around the house before each walkthrough.
A widower, Oren also is landlord to a group house that former actor and now lounge singer Leah (Keaton, The Big Wedding) calls home, as does a mom with two precocious kids and an African American couple expecting their first child. All of these characters are crudely sketched bit players doing their best with the painfully obvious dialogue given their characters by Andrus.
The same goes for Oren early in the film, as he verbally jousts with complaining tenants, has it out with a defecating dog and refuses to make the most minor accommodation for a pregnant woman who rents from him. Keaton’s Leah is only slightly better written, but she’s much more sympathetic. Her repeated character trait? Breaking down every time she performs songs that remind her of her late husband. Her audiences don’t’ seem to mind. They pack the house for performance after performance. (Director Reiner also acts in the film, in the role of Leah’s pianist.)
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