The two years since his wife died has seen successful real estate agent Oren Little (Michael Douglas) because one of the grumpiest men alive in the small American town he calls home. From trying to sell over-priced homes to racially vilifying his potential clients and making life one big sad mess for his neighbours it’s all in a day’s work for him.
Then suddenly his life is turned upside down when his son that he has written off years before shows up on his door begging him to look after his granddaughter Sarah (Sterling Jerins) while he is in prison. Oren reluctantly agrees and decides that while he is working he can easily just dump the girl on his long-suffering neighbour Leah (Diane Keaton) who is another one of Oren’s victims.
What you get out of And So It Goes largely depends on what you go into the film expecting it to be. If you are expecting the latest As Good As It Gets (or insert the name of any Jack Nicholson comedy from the past couple of decades here) then you are going to be in for a surprise. Because while And So It Goes teams up screenwriter Mark Andrus (the man who penned the aforementioned As Good As It Gets) and director Rob Reiner (known for classics like Spinal Tap and The Bucket List) this isn’t a film that just goes for over-the-top-comedy. This is a film that decides it can mix and match the genres and have some comedy amongst heartfelt scenes that tug on the heartstrings, much in the same way Andrus’ Life As A House Does.
The fact that And So It Goes does drift between genres is possibly both its biggest positive and greatest negative all rolled into one. While some audience members may like the fact that the film can one moment show a heart gripping scene of a family ripped apart by drug addiction and then the next moment go for comedy relief with a dog humping a teddy bear others will find this to be a film that loses direction and ends up becoming a chore to watch.
Really though And So It Goes does deserve some cinematic credit. While any schmuck that has only watched a few films in their lifetime will easily work out where the Oren and Leah storyline is heading it is harder to determine where the plots revolving around young Sarah and her father Kyle (Austin Lysy) are going to end up. Sure there are some pretty clumsy attempts of humor throughout the film and some of the smaller roles (including one surprisingly played by Frankie Valli) are wasted, but there are more than enough witty one liners and story turns to keep most audiences members interested.
Most of the time Michael Douglas just seems to be in cruise control as he plays a role that was seemingly written for Jack Nicholson but he does transition well from being a grumpy old curmudgeon to a much brighter human being rather well, while once again reminding audiences that he is more capable of handling comedy when he needs to as well. The real star here though is Diane Keaton who also seems to just breeze through her role most of the time but then hits some great peaks when she reveals a rather nice jazz voice when the script calls her to perform in front of a microphone.
And So It Goes ends up just being a film that certainly can’t be called an awful film but also can’t be described as a memorable film either. It parts its comedy does work, while at other times the film’s journey into family problems also shows that the script wasn’t a complete write-off.
One thing is for sure though this is a film that is going to be enjoyed more by older audience members than the younger ones.
Director: Rob Reiner
Starring: Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton
Running Time: 94 minutes
Release Date: 18th July, 2014