With the lackadaisical title, And So It Goes, one does not necessarily anticipate intense action or a risk-taking film. While very basic, it perfectly describes the latest rom-com from actor, writer, director and producer, Rob Reiner (A Few Good Men, 1992, The Bucket List, 2007).
It’s hard to believe that the two legendary actors in this film, Michael Douglas (Last Vegas, 2013) and Diane Keaton (The Big Wedding, 2013) have never worked together. For Reiner and Douglas, however, this represents a reunion from their last collaboration in the 1995 film, American President.
The storyline centers on a dubious mid-sixties pair who are both widowed and keep themselves busy just to get through each day. Oren Little (Douglas) is a cold, self-centered and obnoxious realtor. Leah (Keaton) is a bighearted, slightly flakey, ‘struggling’ lounge singer who lives next door to Oren at the Little Shangri-La, a waterfront apartment building, of which he owns (hence the name). They live below other tenants who have rowdy young boys who are always running around the front yard, which drives Oren up a wall. Oren states he will move out of his apartment as soon as he sells his grand Connecticut estate where he raised his former drug-addict of a son, Luke (Scott Shepherd, Side Effects, 2013). He wants to retire away from it all and escape the life he knew best in Connecticut.
One day, Luke unexpectedly drops off his 10 year-old daughter, Sarah (Sterling Jerins, The Conjuring, 2013), of whom Oren never even knew existed. Although he is now clean, Luke explains he has to do six months behind bars for something completely unrelated to substance abuse and needs Oren to take care of Sarah. Sarah’s mom fled after giving birth and is still a heroin addict. Even though they are estranged and Oren flat out told Luke that he wouldn’t be able to watch after her, Luke hugs Sarah goodbye before driving off to do his time. Of course, Leah sees all this transpire and immediately flies out of her front door in typical flustered-Keaton style. In complete disbelief that A) Oren didn’t know he had a granddaughter and B) That he refused to watch her, Leah immediately takes Sarah under her wing. After a few tiffs between Oren and Leah about the wellbeing of Sarah, Oren starts to get a little sense knocked into him and gradually lets his guard down. He not only begins to open his heart to Sarah, but yes, you guessed it, Leah too.
The film starts off slow with some scenes that try too hard to make audiences laugh and fall short. After the first 20 minutes or so, it begins to pick up. One scene that is actually funny is when Oren is suddenly forced to deliver his neighbor’s baby on his very own living room couch. Although Oren would move upon selling his estate, there wasn’t enough of an engaging conflict in the story to fully latch on to a character and empathize. Perhaps this easygoing storyline is more appealing to seniors. The premise of unexpectedly finding love at a later point in life may also connect more with an older demographic.
Douglas plays the (initially) heartless Oren Frances with a natural ease. Keaton plays the kind, modest, worrywart who manages to get in her customary share of cries and moans throughout the movie. Frances Sternhagen (Julie & Julia, 2009), who plays Oren’s real estate partner Claire, is quite a hoot. She is as crass and blunt as they come and it only makes it even more hilarious coming from an 80 year old woman. Frankie Valli has a cameo as a club owner who takes a chance on Leah’s singing (Keaton does sing in the film). The Douglas and Keaton duo is what will attract audiences to take a chance on the film, but the question will be if they can keep them watching for 94 minutes.
Bottom Line? And So It Goes certainly isn’t groundbreaking. It would be the perfect example of a movie you’d watch on the airplane to pass the time, and once would be enough. The underserved retired audience would likely consider it a crowd pleaser.
Cast: Diane Keaton (Leah), Michael Douglas (Oren Little), Sterling Jerins (Sarah), Frances Sternhagen (Claire), Frankie Valli (Club Owner), John Scott Shepherd (Luke)
Credits: Directed by Rob Reiner; Written by Mark Andrus
Studio: Clarius Entertainment
Run Time: 94 minutes
Jessica Aymond © July 25, 2014