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|Because I Said So|
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E||
dir Michael Lehmann|
scr Karen Leigh Hopkins, Jessie Nelson
with Diane Keaton, Mandy Moore, Gabriel Macht, Tom Everett Scott, Lauren Graham, Piper Perabo, Stephen Collins, Ty Panitz, Tony Hale, Matt Champagne, Colin Ferguson, Carlo Michael Manchini
release US 2.Feb.07, UK 16.Feb.07
Mommie dearest: Keaton and Moore
There's more than enough material here to make an enjoyable drama about a mother and her adult daughters. But the writers and director fail on virtually every front.
Daphne (Keaton) raised her three daughters on her own, neglecting her own happiness to meddle in every detail of their lives. The elder two (Graham and Perabo) are happily married, but the youngest, Milly (Moore), is bouncing from one bad relationship to another. So Daphne steps in, secretly taking out a personal ad. She lands both an eligible architect (Scott) and, unintentionally, a sexy musician (Macht) who lives with his feisty young son (Panitz) and his bachelor dad (Collins).
Of course, nothing goes to Daphne's plan, although it does follow rules of every romantic comedy. Once the plot is set in motion, we can effortlessly predict the entire conclusion. So the filmmakers had better have some clever tricks up their sleeves. Alas, they settle for uninspired slapstick and obvious gags at every point where they could do something witty.
And they encourage Keaton to go for the broadest, most unlikeable performance imaginable. Daphne is so intensely manipulative, narrow-minded and shrill that we can't quite figure out why the three daughters didn't mutiny long ago. She never stops pushing them. Sure, she also loves and protects them, but they've matured despite her, not because of her. It's one of Keaton's most misjudged roles, even though she's energetic and sparky as always.
Moore fares better in a slightly glossed-over role as the ditsy cutie-pie with the silly laugh. Milly's broadly wacky personality traits fall flat, but Moore, shines in the dramatic scenes. And it helps that everyone else (except Keaton) plays it straight enough to be believable. Macht, Scott and Collins ooze charm, although poor Perabo is given nothing to do.
It's a shame that Lehmann directs and edits with such a clumsy hand. There are flashes of real meaning deep inside this script somewhere, probably down below all the studio meddling. What emerges is one of the most annoying and obnoxious movies of the year. And it really didn't need to be like this.
|India Langston, Brandon, MS: "i think that this movie is very delighting. It shows character in what a girl wants. Every mother should do this!" (30.Nov.07)|
© 2007 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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