Reviewing the Reviews: 'Because I Said So'

Because_lA new psychological study suggests that men like romantic comedies as much as women do, but these reviews prove that women can hate them as much as men do. EW‘s own Lisa Schwarzbaum gave us the set-up and a sample of the universal sorrow being expressed for Diane Keaton’s participation in this film: "Her clothes are as cool as ever, but her character, Daphne—a divorced mother of three grown daughters (Lauren Graham, Piper Perabo, Mandy Moore) who meddles neurotically in the love life of her youngest girl, Milly (Moore)—is an unbelievable mess. I mean actually unbelievable, a blur of romantic-comedy foibles (she’s a ditz at technology, afraid of romance herself) nevertheless costumed with the confidence of a babe who’d give, say, Jack Nicholson a run for his money." The Washington Post‘s Ann Hornaday concurred: "Hooting and pratfalling her way through a mortifyingly demeaning role, her lithe frame forced into a succession of ridiculous cinch-waisted get-ups, Keaton resembles a whooping crane on Ritalin, in a borderline psychotic turn."

The men sharpened their own catty claws to see who could deliver the finest diss: The Charlotte Observer‘s Lawrence Toppman had heat with this opening: "Perfection is humanly impossible, so I can’t honestly report that Because I Said So is a perfect cliche from end to end." But Planet Sick-Boy‘s Jon Popick won when he went postal: "As it was, I was so angered and bored by So, I spent the bulk of the running time thinking of creative ways for the characters to be murdered."

As you can imagine, the film’s title was ripe for pun-tastic headlines: "Because I Said So is sadly so-so," read The Arizona Daily Star.  "Diane Keaton, I Say No!" exclaimed The New York Observer. "A Diane Keaton flop? Say it ain’t so," lamented The Christian Science Monitor. "To say the least," zinged The St. Paul Pioneer Press. Critics also used the title in their closing arguments: "If anyone asks why you don’t want to go, you know the answer: Because I Said So," said The Arizona Republic‘s Bill Muller.

addCredit(“Because I Said So: Suzanne Tenner”)

All that said, I’m still going to see this movie tonight. (And notbecause Static Guard, which apparently gets a shout-out in the film,sent me a handmade valentine, complete with two boxes of Sweethearts, twobags of microwaveable popcorn, and two bottles of their product. And a$20 gift certificate to a theater chain.) And you are going as well,Ron Kelly, the friend who just sent me an e-mail with a link to CNN‘s review and the words "Uh oh." (Not that we need to after the San Jose Mercury News‘ Bruce Newman felt compelled to spoil every moment of the film. Not acceptable, even for a film this predictable, Mister.)

Will we be the only ones braving this flick directed by Heathers‘ Michael Lehmann, who The Hollywood Reporter‘sSheri Linden pointed out, "isn’t above using Daphne’s pet dog forfrequent reaction shots"? And what romantic comedy disappointed you themost? Must Love Dogs, anyone?

Comments (17 total) Add your comment
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  • Ed

    There’s chick flick and then there’s Because I Said So. As a gay, I love me some chick flicks that have women dancing happily to some oldie (song not Diane) but goodie; clumsy but cute girl gets the guy or strong woman finds a soft spot in her heart but this one is WAY too sappy for me. When I saw Diane share an underwear scene (god bless her for the courage to do it) I knew this movie would never be in my chick flick DVD collection.
    I’m going to check out the homoerotic Jeremy Piven movie tonight! Leave it to Jeremy to do homoerotic right!

  • Nathan

    I’m not going to see this flick because movies like this are all exactly the same, just with interchangeable actors and are never any good anyway.

  • dma69

    Oh, Annie Hall, how you’ve fallen.

  • Aaron
  • Jenny

    I will see this flick but mostly because my love of Lauren Graham knows no bounds. She rocks my socks hardcore and needs more great roles and positive exposure. I’ll do what I can to help. If you doubt me, I have 2 words for you “Lucky 13″. Ugh.

  • Ron

    I am indeed the Ron Kelly, aka “friend”, noted in Ms. Bierly’s blog entry. I did indeed send her the link to the CNN review with an “uh oh” message. Guilty as charged. But since I am (gay) man enough to actually STILL go see this movie with Mandi-la tonight, who else thinks that I at least deserve one of those bottles of Static-Guard as a reward?

  • Cert

    I think it’s hypocritical. Keaton was lauded for her ludicrous role in “Something’s Got to Give,” where she played a neurotic playwright with insomnia who hadn’t had sex in decades and was so grateful to Jack Nicholson for giving her some, she demanded he be in love with her. Here she plays another neurotic, but because this one wants her daughter to get married, she’s considered an unbelievable character. I have a much easier time believing a mom who is overly obsessed with her daughters’ future than I do a successful artist who can’t get anyone to sleep with her. Maybe the script isn’t as well done here, but critics telling me what’s acceptably anti-feminist in romance flicks and what’s not seems high-handed.

  • Phil Villarreal

    Thanks for linking to my review, Mandi! You can’t say you weren’t warned when you trade in your gift certificate for an agonizing 90 minutes tonight though.

  • Phil

    As another fellow gay who’s seen the film already, I’ll say this. Its cute, and yes, the character of Daphne is a tad bit unrealistic but the movie has many small humorous aspects that keep it enjoyable! There’s a small boy in the film who’s beyond adorable & makes you smile in just about every scene he’s in. (To Mandi’s friend Ron) I went with a straight girlfriend to check it out the other night, and I enjoyed it about as much as she did. Have fun & remember to get extra butter on your popcorn!

  • Chris

    Romantic comedies don’t do well anymore because they are so unrealistic and written around a specific formula. So predictible! I love good ones (Pretty Woman was great!), but it has been so long! I think Jennifer Garner has a GREAT honesty about her would work so well in a romantic comedy…but horrible writing always defeats a good actor.
    It is time for better writing. Women aren’t that stupid, and we deserve better. Maybe if women had more control in the industry, we wouldn’t have this issue!

  • Krissy

    As good an actress as she is, Diane Keaton is a bit too “long in the tooth” to be continuously playing a ditsy, but lovable woman in search of a man. What was charming and whimsical when she was 30 in Annie Hall has become almost a parody at age 60. Someone, PLEASE give her better scripts!

  • snarky

    Seeing the promo where the characters are singing into their hairbrushes, makes the “Devo” sing-a-long scene (in “Raising Helen”) look like “The Sound of Music.”

  • Sophia

    I went for Lauren Graham, and I wasn’t disappointed – she steals the movie in every scene she’s in. Granted, it’s no cinematic classic, but it’s a fun way to waste some time on the weekend.

  • Ed

    I went to go see that new Jeremy Piven movie last night (can’t remember the name) piece of crap!
    Jeremy took his robe off on the first part of the movie – I lost interest.
    Now Ryan Rynolds on the other hand, he can’t act but he is hot hot hot!

  • Mags

    I can’t even look at that picture you’ve got there without wanting to throw up.
    It looks (and by most accounts, is) offensively bad.

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