Movies this bad don’t get released… they escape. The story, which picks the bones of everything from Something’s Gotta Give (sans Jack Nicholson) to Fiddler on the Roof, never met a cliché it didn’t love or a situation too hackneyed to be inserted into the mix.
Diane Keaton plays a single mother who raised three beautiful daughters. Her oldest, Maggie (The Gilmour Girls’ Lauren Graham) and middle child Mae (Maggie Mae, get it?) played by Piper “Coyote Ugly” Perabo lead perfect romantic comedy lives—they have great jobs, handsome husbands and seem set to happily ride off into the sunset. That leaves the third daughter, the Cinderella of the bunch, Milly, the quirky daughter who can’t seem to find a man. Mom, fearful that her youngest won’t ever find happiness decides to act as a pimp… er… I mean set her daughter up with a man. Romantic entanglements ensue as Mom chooses a wealthy but emotionally detached architect and Milly falls for a penniless but warm-hearted musician. Who do you think she’ll end up with?
It’s a fairly standard romantic comedy set-up, although, just as The Holiday did last year, has at its core the notion that women cannot be fulfilled unless they have a man in their lives. The idea is that Diane Keaton is a cranky old maid who has given up on any hope of love in her life and she is trying to steer her children away from her fate. It’s an intrinsically misogynist concept that seems to be the basis for more and more romantic comedies these days.
The gender politics of the piece notwithstanding, there isn’t much to like about this movie. The comedy, which often veers into slapstick, falls flat, the story is predictable, the characters right out of central casting. Diane Keaton—it should be noted has been nominated for Best Actress four times and won in 1978 for a truly the great rom com Annie Hall—delivers the worst performance of her long career. Perhaps she stands out so much because the other actors are barely given characters to work with, and thusly blend into the scenery, but her over-the-top shrieky performance brought to mind bad sitcom acting. She makes Bozo the Clown look subtle and nuanced.
Why shouldn’t you go see this movie? I’ll use a running gag from the movie as my answer: “Because I Said So…”