Because I Said So
Diane Keaton has experienced career resurgence as of late, but Because I Said So slams the brakes on the comeback train, throws that sucker into reverse and backs up into a lake of raw sewage. In films like Something’s Gotta Give and, to a lesser extent, The Family Stone, directors managed to mine that goofy Keaton charm without overdoing it. Her comic, “zany” side was just a part of the performances rather than being the dominant factor.
With Because I Said So, it’s as if director Michael Lehmann kept shouting, “Give me that kooky Keaton charm!” repeatedly on the set, and Keaton just kept spewing it out to the point of overkill. The film plays as if somebody managed to isolate the zany part of Keaton’s persona, put it in a box and persuade Satan to vomit on it. It is Hell to watch.
Keaton plays Daphne, the mother of three totally hot daughters (Mandy Moore, Lauren Graham and Piper “Yes, we get to see her in a thong” Perabo). The only one without a hubby is Milly (Moore), and Daphne is determined to put an end to that. She doesn’t want her daughter to end up like her, alone on the eve of her 60th birthday. So, get this, she takes out a personal ad seeking life mates for her daughter, like any good mama would do. Almost instantly, Daphne is a character who is hard to stomach.
Daphne sets up meetings with potential suitors at a bar, and she hones in on Tom Everett Scott, the dork from That Thing You Do. Johnny (Gabriel Macht), the rebel lounge guitarist at the location where she’s conducting interviews (He has a tattoo!), decides to look up Milly after finding her mom’s efforts intriguing. This is the first sign that Johnny is an insane idiot.
From here on, Milly, not knowing her mom was responsible for setting her up, starts dating the two guys. She also sleeps with both of them without informing each dude of the other dude’s existence. This would be the part of the film that relegates the picture to the “For Women Only!” file because guys are liable to get pissed off at the Milly character. Come to think of it, the Milly character is just as annoying as the Daphne character, and women will probably hate her, too.
That’s not it for annoying characters. This film contains one of cinema’s all-time annoying brats in Ty Panitz. Panitz plays Lionel, Johnny-the-tattoo-rebel’s son, and the kid is a hyper little shit. As soon as daddy brings Milly home for a visit, the kid asks to see her vagina. I’m not kidding. And, watch out because if somebody’s holding a breakable or a cake (as Daphne does in one scene), Lionel will make sure said item will end up on the floor or all over your dress. Hilarious!
As for Keaton, this isn’t a case of an accomplished actress rising above inferior material. This is an example of an accomplished actress lowering her standards and jumping into the fray, willingly wallowing in crap with a big smile on her face. The film contains a scene where she, suffering from laryngitis, writes out a note asking daughter Milly what an orgasm feels like, and we must endure Milly’s depiction of sexual climax. Of course, Daphne will have her first orgasm later in the film, a moment where Milly will mistakenly open the bedroom door and sport the old “I just saw my mom having sex!” face.
This is one of those films that can damage your soul. If you must see it, make sure to have a stack of good Diane Keaton DVDs ready to roll when you get home. This will act as your antidote. As for me, I’m going to watch the three-hour Reds and attempt to put this nightmare out of my mind.