You know that scene in every sports flick where the dejected team gets the big pep talk before their play in the second half ultimately changes the outcome of everyone’s lives? That’s about the only cliché not presented in Because I Said So, a crass, overly shrill romantic comedy with mommy issues.
Never one to reject a film over the poor quality of its script, Mandy Moore gets another opportunity to show she can do in leading roles what she did as a well-cast supporting player in Saved. She’s off the mark again, though not by much, but since her impressive debut in A Walk to Remember, Moore has taken two steps back and one step forward with each new project.
She almost comes of age here as a caterer whose personal life can never take off because of her meddling, overbearing mother. (Diane Keaton, who must have an enormous gambling problem if she needs this check so badly. Annie Hall? Anyone?) Mandy makes sweet love, and with multiple partners, though not in congress with one another, talks about orgasms and she cries – real tears! – but there’s also the obligatory singing scene.
Of course, Mandy Moore – even as a character in a bad movie – wouldn’t spend too many nights home alone feeding her fish. Yet that’s her fate in Because I Said So, inspiring her mom to place an Internet dating ad pimping her daughter, which leads to the requisite embarrassing montage of losers until that perfect guy shows up.
That Perfect Guy, at least according to mom, is another cliché, a smooth-talking architect played by Tom Everett Scott (That Thing You Do). Maybe I’ve just seen too many romantic comedies, but what is it with the handsome architect? He’s become as big a staple in these movies as the gay best friend or the quirky roommate who falls in love with another minor character. Just a note to the ladies — if you’re in a movie and you have to choose between the rich guy who designed the building you’re standing in or the diamond-in-the-rough musician who’s pulling double duty as a single dad (Gabriel Macht in this case), you’d totally be so much happier with the musician.
Because I Said So doesn’t know what barely reheated chick flick formula to fully embrace, a mother-daughter relationship that needs serious reacquainting on both sides, or the woe of pretty, tall caterers with terrific singing voices trying to find a great guy in the big city. As a result, it’s as bad as you’d think a combination of the two might be.
Because I Said So
Starring: Mandy Moore, Diane Keaton and Gabriel Macht
Directed by: Michael Lehmann