Movie review: Predictable plot stalls 'And So It Goes'

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“And So It Goes” is a generic title for a bland, predictable film aimed squarely at moviegoers often left out of the entertainment equation — baby boomers and older adults. 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to cater to that audience with a PG-13 comedy starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton, but this movie from director Rob Reiner seems dated and designed for cable. Not cutting-edge Showtime or HBO but the Hallmark Channel, which probably cannot afford these Oscar-winning actors. 

Mr. Douglas plays Oren Little, a widowed real-estate broker who lives in Connecticut. He can be a selfish, bigoted jerk, aiming a paintball at a stray dog fouling a lawn, monopolizing the driveway at his four-unit apartment building and threatening the children playing nearby with, “Touch my car and I‘‍ll have you spayed.” 

'And So It Goes' movie trailer

A self-centered realtor enlists the help of his neighbor when he's suddenly left in charge of the granddaughter he never knew existed until his estranged son drops her off at his home.

His efforts to sell an $8.6 million house and punch his ticket to retirement are interrupted when his estranged son, Luke (Scott Shepherd), appears with some bad news-bad news. Luke, a former heroin addict, is headed to prison, and he needs Oren to keep his almost 10-year-old daughter, Sarah (Sterling Jerins), for six to nine months. 

Oren balks but gets the girl anyway and hands off much of her care to the empathetic Leah (Diane Keaton), his next-door neighbor, a onetime struggling actress turned wannabe lounge singer, and widow.

'And So It Goes'

Starring: Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton.

Rating: PG-13 for some sexual references and drug elements.

You can probably see where this is going, which is not necessarily a deal-breaker, but the Mark Andrus screenplay is just so obvious as a metamorphosis theme is wrung dry. The story veers into sitcom or impossible-to-buy territory as when Leah cries while performing or Oren makes a hasty, heartless decision, changes his mind and heads to a lighthearted location; it’‍s as if the story were returning from a commercial break.

Frances Sternhagen provides some tartness as a chain-smoking realtor who has known Oren for years, and Mr. Reiner allows himself to double as a sight gag as Leah’‍s sometime piano player who sports a toupee as obvious as it is awful. Alan Brady would be appalled (hey, if you’re interested in this movie, you will get “The Dick Van Dyke Show” reference).

“And So It Goes” makes a case for second chances at family, love and life but it’‍s not challenging or surprising. Even underserved audiences don’‍t want to settle for a movie just because it seems to fit their demographic.

Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: or 412-263-1632. Read her blog: First Published July 24, 2014 8:00 PM

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