Going nowhere still fun
With a trifecta of two legendary film actors, Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton, and a once beloved director Rob Reiner, “And So It Goes” could have been a much better film than it is. But in addition to talented actors and a gifted director, great films also require a great script. While screenwriter Mark Andrus has the terrific “As Good As It Gets” on his resume, his latest effort feels more like his recent work on the dreadful “Georgia Rule.” But there is something to be said for actors who lift a film and make a spotty story more entertaining, and that’s exactly what Douglas and Keaton do here.
Douglas plays Oren, a successful real estate agent in Connecticut who hangs out in his four-plex while trying to sell his gorgeous estate in a nearby ritzy Bridgeport neighborhood. Oren’s relentless (and often hilarious) curmudgeonly demeanor may be a result of his wife’s passing. So he easily agitates his next-door neighbor Leah (Keaton), a prone-to-crying widow and bistro singer. Fate and a laundry list of contrivances throw together the two after Oren’s son Luke (John Scott Shepherd) drops off his 10-year-old daughter (Sterling Jerins) at Oren’s place on his way to serve a jail sentence. With the disgruntled Oren having no interest in taking care of this newly discovered granddaughter, the empathic Leah steps in to help.
Predictably, the quandary of the little girl brings together Oren and Leah. There is a lot of witty banter for Douglas, here playing slightly against type—finally acting his age, and Keaton, playing the similar gracefully-aging, vulnerable, modern-day Annie Hall character from all her recent films. There’s nothing as rich as “Something’s Gotta Give,” the 2003 Keaton vehicle that co-starred Jack Nicholson, but Frances Sternhagen is a hoot as Oren’s bluntly wise-cracking elderly secretary.
Granted, films depicting love among the over-50 set are a welcome addition in an industry formula that usually ignores any demographic over age 25. It is great to see two veteran actors pushing and pulling a relationship with the kind of mature vibrancy that comes at a stage in life when the past feels as important as the future.
In fact, “And So It Goes” would have been much better had it shown more of the struggle in Oren’s situation, but everything seems to work out so perfectly here that the film is less about life’s rich rewards and more about light-hearted convenience.
But that might be just fine for the target audience. So forgive “And So It Goes” its flaws, give it a chance, and watch Douglas and Keaton have fun going at it.
Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and drug elements.