Because I Said So
Valentine’s Day is one of the many days of the year where the guy in the relationship gets the raw deal. Not only do we have to unload insane amounts of money on gifts for our significant others, but some of that money has to go to losing an hour and a half of your life to trite, glorified examples of so called romance. And this year is no different, as audiences are offered acting legend Diane Keaton wasting her talent alongside the likes of Lauren Graham (“Gilmore Girls”), Piper Parabo (“Coyote Ugly”) and Mandy Moore (“Saved”) in the clichéd romantic comedy “Because I Said So”, a movie which can coincidentally, given the day job of one of the stars, be described as “Gilmore Girls: The Movie!”
Keaton portrays Daphne, the overbearing, single mother to her married daughters Maggie (Graham) and Mae (Perabo) and the romantically challenged youngest daughter Milly (Moore). Daphne decides to take Milly’s personal matters into her own hands and posts a personal ad on an online dating service, and finds two potential candidates: Johnny (Gabriel Macht) who seems to genuinely like Milly, and Jason (Tom Everett Scott) who Daphne likes for Milly.
As I’ve already been cynically scathing, I’ll take a brief moment to highlight the positive aspects of the flick. It shatters the long held male archetypal characters and reverses it, with decent enough results. In a standard chick flick the hard edged musician with tattoos is supposed to be the jerk that the girl is with, and there’s the charming, mildly funny, successfully stable man who she’s supposed to end up with. They reverse the roles for us, showing us in the only moment of reality in the movie that the supposed “one” could be anyone; it’s not necessarily the classic prince charming.
Keaton has been proving to us for the past nearly 40 years that she has a phenomenal talent. Yet like most great actors, she’ll squander that talent every so often on meaningless drivel like this. This isn’t to say she’s particularly bad in the role; it’s just obviously beneath her. Though the collective talent of Graham, Perabo and Moore seem to march right instep with this kind of film, and I unfortunately expect to see more of the same from each actress.
Macht (“The Good Shepherd”) is one of those actors that I’ve always found myself wondering why he isn’t better known. He’s certainly got the talent, and paid his rom-com dues eight years ago with “Simply Irresistable”, so why hasn’t he moved on. He didn’t so much as phone in his performance, as it was almost just too easy for him to pull off.
The chick flick formula really needs to be refined. All the scripts feature striking similarities that it gets painful to watch. All four leading ladies have to do a song and dance to a Seventy’s pop staple. Someone spills an important food item all over themselves and the floor and it’s the funniest thing ever. And the standard ending of big revelation leading to big fight leading to big break up leading to tearful reunion is firmly in place, and clearly has no sign of going anywhere in the near future. And then there’s the “not-too-old for love” sub-plot they throw Keaton.
It really could have worked in the right hands, as far as the script is concerned. What “Field of Dreams” did for the father/son relationship, this one could have done for the mother/daughter relationship. Unfortunately it had the same air about it that “Gilmore Girls” does: insistent and annoying.