“And so it goes,” sang Nick Lowe in the chorus of his first hit, “and where it’s going, no one knows.” If only the same could be said for “And So It Goes,” a new comedy starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton. Predictable as joint pain after an Active Aging workout, you’ll know exactly where it’s going.
Douglas plays Oren, a widowed Connecticut real estate agent with more than a few personality tics. He’s a broke Gordon Gekko, relying on one last real estate score to secure his retirement. His next-door neighbor is Leah (Keaton), a lounge singer who bursts into tears at the mere thought of her late husband. They are polar opposites brought together when a granddaughter (Sterling Jerins) Oren didn’t know about turns up on their shared doorstep. Cue the Geritol inspired giggles (“I’ve sold houses older than you,” says Oren to Leah, “and in worse condition!”).
Douglas and Keaton aren’t straying far from their collective wheelhouses here. Both have played these kind of characters before—he in “Wonder Boys,” she in “Something’s Gotta Give”—and while both are skilled, the material lets them down. There are sweet moments and a few funny scenes, but virtually every plot point is telegraphed in extra large print so everyone can see them coming a mile away.
Director Rob Reiner lets the leads do what they do best—win the audience over with sheer strength of will—and had the good sense to hire Frances Sternhagen as Oren’s quick-witted associate. Her performance, full of wit and charm and even a bit of edge, exposes the movie’s main problem. If Reiner had allowed his other characters to have as much fun as Sternhagen it might not feel so fuddy duddy.
“And So It Goes” is clearly made for an older audience but panders to easy sentiment rather than offering the over fifty crowd any kind of refined look at romance and family. It’s about as interesting as a Blue Plate Special when it could be, considering the talent involved, as richly textured as a fine, aged wine.