And So It Goes
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that And So It Goes is a Rob Reiner-directed romcom about sullen, widowed real estate agent Oren Little (Michael Douglas), who's estranged from his adult son ... who one day shows up unexpectedly and asks Oren to take in the granddaughter he didn't know he had. It's a situation ripe for disappointment and mistakes, which include Oren introducing the girl to her long-lost mother, a heroin junkie, and discussing serious topics (including his flirtation with the next-door neighbor, played by Diane Keaton) and just being the disgruntled person he is. Expect some swearing (including "s--t" and "a--hole"), sometimes in front of children, as well as smoking, drinking, drug use, implied sex, and themes that are too mature for younger kids.
What's the story?
Oren Little (Michael Douglas), a Connecticut real estate broker, is an outright curmudgeon. He's crass, prejudiced (he sizes people up by ethnic stereotypes), will shoot a dog with a paintball gun, and blocks the driveway of his apartment building, never mind that his pregnant tenant can't park close to her home. Part of the reason he's so bitter is due to the death of his wife, whom he nursed until she passed away. He's also lost contact with his son, a junkie who shows up at the family home, now for sale, asking his dad to care for his tween daughter (Sterling Jerins) while he serves a stint in prison. Never mind that Oren has never even met his grandchild. If not for Leah (Diane Keaton), a neighbor and tenant who takes a liking to his granddaughter, where would Oren be? But the man has a special talent for getting in his own way.
Is it any good?
Director Rob Reiner has made a number of excellent films, including When Harry Met Sally and This is Spinal Tap, but AND SO IT GOES won't be joining that list. Despite the presence of greats Douglas and Keaton, the movie suffers from an extreme lack of momentum and fails to elicit enough emotional investment in its characters and what happens. Yes, there are stakes -- having your former junkie son show up with a kid you've never met certainly ups the ante -- and, yes, there's a romance that doesn't go smoothly. But it all unfolds in a lackluster manner that subverts any energy the movie musters. A few side plots, including Keaton's character's attempts to launch a cabaret career, are distracting.
That said, Douglas and Keaton are delightful (especially Keaton), even if their chemistry barely ignites. And when it comes to what the movie is all about, Reiner goes for the obvious answers. For instance, could there be a more on-the-nose symbol than caterpillars -- which one character keeps as part of a science experiment -- metamorphosing into butterflies? And so it goes, indeed -- just not very impressively.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what role drugs/drug use plays in And So It Goes' plot. How did drugs get in the way of Oren's relationship with his son? What are the other consequences of substance use here? Are they realistic?
Hollywood often pairs disgruntled men with kind women who are depicted as softening them. What do you make of this cliche? How does it play out here?
What audience do you think this movie is aimed at? How can you tell?