There was a time when director Rob Reiner used to make good movies — in the ’80s. Even the ’90s were better than his new millennium escapades. The last 20 years have not been kind to his directorial skills and he seems hell bent on proving this with his latest dramedy And So It Goes. A film so asinine, it literally couldn’t even keep my own mom’s interest for 90 minutes. And this is someone who used to watch Two and a Half Men and still finds Duck Dynasty entertaining. Let’s just say she’ll typically laugh at anything, but even she leaned over and called this one horrible about halfway through.
Realtor/widower Oren Little (Michael Douglas) who spends his time trying to sell his own home for more than $8 million — when he’s not being racist, sexist, or popping off rape jokes back at the office. He’s so embittered with life that he refuses to share the driveway of his fourplex to help out his pregnant neighbor. One day, Oren’s son Luke (Scott Shepherd) shows up to tell Oren that he’s going to prison for nine months and dumps his daughter Sarah (Sterling Jerins) in his lap. Oren’s widowed/lounge singing neighbor Leah (Diane Keaton) takes Sarah under her wing, who eventually starts getting called grandma. Now, Oren must learn how to take care of someone besides himself, and oh, if only wackiness had ensued.
And So It Goes pretty much sums up the whole movie. Writer Mark Andrus may have been nominated for co-writing As Good As It Gets, but now I can’t help but wonder if he only wrote the first draft with James L. Brooks rewriting the entire thing. Oren’s misogynistic/racist rants have the same feel as Melvin’s in AGAIG, but Douglas is no Jack Nicholson. This almost works as a companion piece, but were we ever asking for one? Not even Keaton can save this mess, as all she’s reduced to is histrionics. And Jerins is one of the most awkward child actors in recent memory. It doesn’t help that Reiner apparently doesn’t care if she breaks the fourth wall. I also swear even Keaton reads a few cue cards in one scene toward the end. Of course life lessons are learned and lives are turned around, but there’s never any reason for it to happen, except the clichéd screenplay forces everything.
When I saw Frances Sternhagen was in the film I had hopes that at least she would have some enjoyable moments, but her character is just as racist as Oren. She mistakes a potential homebuyer to be Oren’s groundskeeper. At one point, Oren tells Reiner’s character, “Don’t embarrass yourself” before he slips on a slip and slide. Oren may as well have been talking to Reiner about the film itself. Maybe it’s time for Reiner to officially throw in the towel. You’d never know this came from the same man who directed This Is Spinal Tap, The Sure Thing, Stand By Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally…, Misery, A Few Good Men, and even The American President. Reiner is simply going through the motions here, making And So It Goes only feels like a literal title for his career.
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