And So It Goes
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There are a million reasons not to like realtor Oren Little (Michael Douglas), and that's just the way he likes it. Willfully obnoxious to anyone who might cross his path, he wants nothing more than to sell one last house and retire in peace and quiet -- until his estranged son suddenly drops off a granddaughter (Sterling Jerins) he never knew existed and turns his life upside-down. Clueless about how to care for a sweet, abandoned nine-year-old, he pawns her off on his determined and lovable neighbor Leah (Diane Keaton) and tries to resume his life uninterrupted. But little by little, Oren stubbornly learns to open his heart - to his family, to Leah, and to life itself - in this uplifting comedy from acclaimed director Rob Reiner.
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I had really high hopes for And So It Goes. I couldn't stand getting to the end and feeling like the story was only half told. I mean, yes, we got some amazing, pure-Keaton moments, but since when does the queen of vulnerability play the romantic lead in a movie and never say "I love you," or some iteration thereof?! It was as if Rob Reiner cut her off after the first act.
The story was contrived but could really have gone somewhere. In Something's Gotta Give, it's a clear plot twist that Harry Sanborn's heart attack, coupled with falling in love at age 63...for the first time in his life...with Erica Barry, no less...is the catalyst that spurs him to turn his life around. In And So It Goes, we see Leah begin to let her guard down for Oren, and Oren showing signs of possessing a conscience but there is missing the passion and depth of emotion typical of a Keaton performance, and Douglas-as-Oren is but a shadow of shmuck-who-deserves-to-die Harry Sanborn. I don't believe there is fault on the parts of Ms Keaton or Mr. Douglas. It seems the critical flaw lies in Reiner's handicapping the dynamic potential of his leads.
It's cute (there's that word again), but at best it leaves you shaking your head and thinking, 'where's the rest of the story?" "Cute" sells Diane Keaton so very far short. It's high time she gets a role that recognizes her unique ability to be more beautiful, elegant, subtle, nuanced, raw-yet-polished than any actress alive today.
Still, I like Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas, although they didn't meld well in this one.