And So It Goes (PG-13)

Comedy 94 July 25, 2014
By Nick Schager
And So It Goes, director Rob Reiner's timid, elder rom-com, concerns real estate agent Oren (Michael Douglas), who's first shown paying his respects at his wife's grave on her birthday -- a gentle introduction that immediately neuters the subsequent portrait of him as an unrepentant jerk who likes to shoot lawn-crapping dogs with a paintball gun and treat prospective clients with racial/ethnic insensitivity. Oren's life is thrown for a loop when his former-addict son, Luke (Scott Shepherd), shows up and tells him that he's going off to jail and leaving Oren to care for the granddaughter, Sarah (Sterling Jerins), whom he never knew he had. If that sounds like a creaky means of kick-starting Oren's transformation from prick to prince, it's not as clumsy as the attendant symbolic subplot involving Sarah studying caterpillars' metamorphosis. This science project is facilitated by Oren's neighbor Leah (Diane Keaton), a lounge singer who's prone to burst into tears during performances and who so quickly takes to Sarah that, only a day after the girl arrives, she's already calling Leah "Grandma."

Oren's grumpiness and Leah's weepiness are presented as two sides of the same lonely widower/widow coin. In Sarah, Reiner (working from Mark Andrus' hoary script) offers his protagonists a vehicle for their renaissance, as the girl's arrival instigates a combination of cantankerous arguments and inelegant courtship. While Sarah expresses distaste for mayonnaise on her bologna sandwiches, Reiner seems to be a big fan of the condiment, slathering it across his camera lens to give the movie a soft-focus visual smeariness that goes hand in hand with its hazy plotting. As contrivances pile up, so too do the groans. The result is a lumbering attempt at sweet-and-saucy romance.
Rob Reiner Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton, Sterling Jerins, Paloma Guzmán, Frances Sternhagen, Frankie Valli, David Aaron Baker, Austin Lysy, Barbara Vincent Mark Andrus Clarius Entertainment

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