And So It Goes won’t win any points for its name. Nor will it win any prizes for originality. But this rom-com does have a bewildering amount of talent coming together to make a film that’s not great, just nice. This means it is fun and pleasant enough to watch, but it won’t change your life.
This film is directed by Rob Reiner (When Harry Met Sally, This Is Spinal Tap) who also makes a cameo wearing a ridiculous toupee and playing a would-be love interest. The script is also written by Mark Andrus, who co-wrote As Good As It Gets. There are similarities between these two films, not least because an attractive woman softens up a “hard” man.
In And So It Goes Michael Douglas stars as Oren Little. He is an obnoxious, selfish, rude, racist and inconsiderate bastard. He does what he likes, which wouldn’t be too problematic except that he’s the owner of a building complex he dubs the “Little Shangri-La”. Here, he reigns terror over his tenants by yelling at their kids, shooting paintballs at their dogs and taking up two spaces when pregnant women and people carrying groceries are forced to park miles away.
The story goes that Oren has wound up acting this way because he is still grieving after losing his wife. Yet his neighbour, Leah (Diane Keaton) is also grappling with the loss of her husband and she couldn’t be further away in personality traits if she tried. Leah is kind, maternal and compassionate and a part-time lounge singer.
After Oren is left to care for a young granddaughter that he previously didn’t even know existed (his estranged son reappeared in Oren’s life only to tell the old man he had to do jail time), it is Leah who steps up to the plate to care for the girl. In this case the child is Sarah who is played by the adorable, Sterling Jerins. The two veterans, Keaton and Douglas put in solid roles as does Jerins and one could argue that they considerably improve the piece. Keaton should also be commended for singing melancholy, old standards in a heartfelt whisper, even though it is quite clear that she is not a singer by trade.
The story of And So It Goes which depicts a self-absorbed and cantankerous old man softening and learning to love again by two women is hardly a revelation and the plot itself is quite safe and predictable. But where And So It Goes strengths lie are is in its ability to be light, funny, warm and relatable. Plus, it also features two great cameos in the form of Frankie Valli and Frances Sternhagen as the club owner and sassy secretary, respectively. It is criminal that the latter wasn’t given more airtime but that’s just how the cookie crumbles and so it goes…
Originally published on 5 August 2014 at the following website: http://iris.theaureview.com/2014/08/05/film-review-and-so-it-goes-m-usa-2014/
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