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And So It Goes

Is that the blandest title of all time? It tells you absolutely nothing about the film; it doesn’t even include the Nick Lowe song of the same name as an excuse (though the soundtrack is otherwise overloaded with oldies that contribute nothing to the story). You could plausibly call any movie And So It Goes, even Andy Warhol’s 24-hour film about the Empire State Building. To get a more generic title, you’d have to go with Movie.

What we have here is a rom-com pitched to the adult market, people who remember seeing When Harry Met Sally when it first came out and are still hoping to repeat that experience. (That those people seldom go to movie theater anymore is something the producers tried not to tell their investors.)

Set in one of those scenic Connecticut towns that is blander than Wonder Bread, we have Michael Douglas as Oren Little, a successful real estate broker. We know he’s successful because when we first see him he’s wearing a seersucker suit and pink argyle socks, an outfit that could never be worn by anyone who cared what other people think about him.

He will retire to a country home as soon as he can sell the lavish abode where he lived with his recently deceased wife. This is taking longer than expected because he refuses to budge on price, apparently having not heard that the real estate bubble burst, so in the meantime he has moved into a rental property he owns. Here he rubs elbows with tenants who hate his guts, all quite appropriately. Newest among these is Leah (Diane Keaton), a recent widow trying to re-establish her career as a lounge singer.

The two stars being roughly the same age, the film goes exactly where you think it will, despite trying to distract us with Douglas’ family problems, which include a son who hates him and a granddaughter he never knew he had.

As I was watching this, I kept wondering if Douglas was purposely trying to channel Jack Nicholson. It turns out that’s who the film was written for. Rob Reiner directed Nicholson in The Bucket List, and at a press conference heard the star say that he hoped to have one more good role in his career. Reiner enlisted Mark Andrus, who wrote Nicholson’s Oscar vehicle As Good as It Gets, to come up with such a project.

That Nicholson did not take the bait is to his credit. And So It Goes is every bit as blah as its title. Keaton needs a strong director to rein in her overused tics, and Reiner is not that guy. She plays an older version of her kookie Annie Hall character. Her singing appearances are in the same style, aside from an ill-considered rendition of Bonnie Raitt’s “Something To Talk About”; that she gets a job paying $1500 at a hotel in this placid burg makes you wonder what planet Andrus lives on. That she has mild chemistry with Douglas is the film’s one saving grace, though that’s hardly enough reason to shell out the cost of a ticket.

Opens Friday at Flix, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria

Watch the trailer for And So It Goes

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