'And So it Goes'not as good as it gets

Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton find romance among the anger and misanthropy.
Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton find romance among the anger and misanthropy.
Posted: July 25, 2014

IN MOVIES, we often see the character of the elderly person plagued by unmodulated moods and unregulated, throwback racism, but rarely in the lead.

So in its own perverse way, "And So It Goes" is groundbreaking - it features Michael Douglas as Oren, a retired, widowed realtor who thinks that the Latino millionaire buying his $8 million house is a gardener, and contemptuously parks his Mercedes over two spots in his apartment building. Oren tells tenants to complain to the owner, because he is the owner.

Hilarious.

I suppose you could admire the chutzpah of a movie that dares us to like such a repulsive person, and that's certainly worked for this writer (Mark Andrus) before - he wrote "As Good As It Gets," which earned an Oscar nom for Jack Nicholson as a grumpy writer softened and humanized by a mysteriously tolerant woman.

Here, the unlucky gal is Diane Keaton, who plays Douglas' neighbor, a woman he mistreats, then inexplicably entrusts with the care of the grandchild dumped on his doorstep by his estranged, headed-to-prison son.

Even if Douglas could find a way to make his selfish character believable (he can't), we'd then face the hurdle of accepting this absurd child-custody premise. All of this leads to possibly the worst scene of any movie this year - Oren attempts to fob the child off on her biological mother, a stupefied drug addict who actually lives in a crack den and falls over backward upon meeting her child for the first time.

Is this meant to be funny?

Tragic?

The tragedy is that neither Keaton nor Douglas nor director Rob Reiner can find anything better to do.


Blog: philly.com/KeepItReel

Online: ph.ly/Movies

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