The second nationwide release this week is a romantic comedy/heartwarming family movie focused on retirees who love Michal Douglass and Diane Keaton.
Realtor Oren Little (Michael Douglas) is an anti-social jerk, and that’s just the way he likes it. His only goal is to sell one last house and retire in peace. Enter conflict in the form of his estranged son, who suddenly drops off his granddaughter (Sterling Jerins). It’s a granddaughter he never new existed. So what does he do? He pawns the 9-year-old off on the neighbor lady Leah (Diane Keaton). Of course, little by little, he decides to get to know the girl and of course, love changes his life forever.
It’s a been there done that script that only rises above mediocrity thanks to the star power of the leads. Despite the premise, it’s a light movie that is designed to be uplifting, without being overtly tear jerking. This is a retirement age romance aimed at a retirement age audience that doesn’t want to think too much.
Douglass shines as the cranky, anti-social Oren. The character is oddly familiar to Jack Nicholson in As Good as it Gets, only this time I don’t find the love affair creepy because Keaton is actually an age appropriate love match for him.
I’m sorry, I know that most people love as Good as it Gets, but the whole time I watched the movie, I was like “Ewe, someone make that creepy old man stop touching Helen Hunt.”
Anyway, for Douglas and Keaton, it works and the two have some decent screen chemistry. Keaton is just as cute and quirky as she was when she played Annie Hall.
The characters were written as one dimensional. That’s pretty obvious from the plot and the dialog. But Keaton and Douglass make them work simply based on their own impressive acting chops, managing to give their characters more depth.
The real problem is the writing. You can see every plot development coming from a mile away. There’s is nothing new. Oren is the Grinch whose heart grows three sizes thanks to the love of a child and a good woman. Leah is the open hearted neighbor who’s always getting involved in his business. And So it Goes goes somewhere pretty obvious in the end.
I would have liked to see an original twist. Maybe a role reversal. Have the woman be the one who’s terrible with children, while the man is the one that’s good with them, maybe? Do something new, for Gods sakes. Make the kid a psychic. Make her a monkey instead. Make the deadbeat parent a woman.
Make the kid really obnoxious and not adorable. Just give me something new. Surprise me, for Gods sake!
If it weren’t for Keaton and Douglass, this movie would have been an utter failure. Even with the two leads, it’s still not doing so great at the box office. This is a movie made for a very particular audience. My guess would be an elderly one where most of the people watching have heart conditions and can’t take too many surprises. Casting Keaton and Douglass was a stroke of genius, but unfortunately, all this movie had was one stroke of genius. Everything else was paint by numbers, how to make a heartwarming movie for skittish retirees. Watch the trailer below: