Reviewed by GREG KING.
Diane Keaton is a usually reliable performer best known for her comedic roles, particularly opposite Woody Allen. However, some of her best performances have often been in dramas like the Godfather trilogy, Reds, and the dark, disturbing Looking For Mr Goodbar. No matter what the role though, Keaton always delivers a solid performance, even in substandard fare like Hanging Up, etc. Lately she seems to have become typecast as a domineering, slightly neurotic matriarchal type, as in recent films like The Family Stone and Something’s Gotta Give. She trots out yet another variation of this archetypal role in her latest film, the predictable and twee romantic comedy Because I Said So.
Here she plays Daphne Wilder, an overbearing and lonely, frustrated and sexually repressed mother who can’t stop interfering in the lives of her three adult daughters. She mainly takes an interest in youngest daughter Milly (former pop starlet Mandy Moore), who is still single. Anxious for her not to make the same mistakes in life and end up single, Daphne secretly places an ad with an on-line dating service to try and find a perfect match. She interviews a string of largely unsuitable prospective suitors, before settling on handsome architect Jason (Tom Everett Scott).
But bemusedly watching the whole process from the sidelines is musician Johnny (Gabriel Macht), who takes matters into his own hands and engineers a meeting with Milly. Before long Milly finds herself dating the two men, trying to decide between them, while Daphne tries to run interference and keep Johnny out of the picture. Then a chance encounter with Johnny’s father (Stephen Collins) leads to an unexpected romance, which rekindles within her lost feelings of passion for love and life, and forces her to re-evaluate her priorities and attitudes.
Director Michael Lehmann really started his career in fine style with the wonderful teen black comedy Heathers and the seriously weird and bizarre family comedy of Meet The Applegates. But lately he seems to have established a comfortable niche for himself with a string of largely forgettable, formulaic mainstream romantic comedies like The Truth About Cats And Dogs and 40Days And 40 Nights, etc. He fails to bring much that is new or interesting to this rather trite romantic comedy, written by Karen Leigh Hopkins (Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael, etc) and Jessie Nelson (Corrina, Corrina, I Am Sam, etc), who both previously collaborated on the soppy drama Stepmom.
There are a few laughs to be found in this tired scenario, most of which come from Keaton’s frenetically over the top performance as Daphne. It’s the type of role she could play in her sleep! Keaton’s role here may also remind many of Jane Fonda’s recent role as an overbearing and protective mother in Monster-In-Law. Moore delivers probably her best performance yet, and is actually quite likeable and good in her role, while both Scott and Macht are also quite good in fairly bland roles.
There’s an audience for this kind of thing, and the film’s release, perfectly timed for Mother’s Day, will also prove to be a crowd pleasing move!