Movie Review: Retirement age romance of ‘And So It Goes’ rings untrue

Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton in
Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton in "And So It Goes."

‘And So It Goes’
★★

It should only take about five minutes for you to figure out precisely where this thoroughly predictable retirement-age romance is going — and that getting there is hardly worth the effort.

Michael Douglas, hero of “And So It Goes,” plays misanthropic realtor Oren Little, a vaguely racist mean-old-guy with a snide remark for everyone he meets. He does have a heart, though, as director Rob Reiner (“The Bucket List”) is careful to show us in the opening scene during a graveside chat with his deceased wife.

Oren has done well for himself, career-wise, and is preparing to sell his $8-million Connecticut home and retire to Vermont when his estranged, former-junkie son Luke (Scott Shepard) drops by with a couple of news bulletins. First, it turns out Oren has a granddaughter he didn’t know about. Second, Luke wants him to take care of 9-year-old Sarah (Sterling Jerins) while he serves a brief prison term.

So Oren has to take the little Sarah home to his quaint little apartment house, where he’s living while his home is on the market. And he promptly fobs her off on his warm-hearted, next-door-neighbor Leah (Diane Keaton, who does score a couple of solid laughs here and there), a widowed aspiring lounge singer who routinely chides him for his meanness. Any thoughts about where that situation might be headed? If so, they’ll immediately be dispelled when the girl starts thinking of them as her grandmother and grandfather.

The predictability of “And So It Goes” is less of a problem, though, than its utter artificiality. Even within the confines of this formulaic scenario, it should have been possible to stir up some sort of real feeling, given the cast.

But screenwriter Mark Andrus (“As Good as it Gets”) and Reiner (who also plays Leah’s comic-relief pianist in a bad toupee) opt instead for sitcom wisecracks and canned sentiment throughout with a flagrant disregard for reality.

It’s hard to decide which is more bogus, Leah packing rooms with her breathy-voiced, half-spoken renditions of cabaret standards or Reiner’s sanitized vision of junkie hell when Oren tries to drop Sarah off at her relapsed mom’s house.

It’s all equally unbelievable, basically, but sometimes that’s just the way it goes.

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