Sunday, July 29, 2007

BECAUSE I SAID SO: Keaton All The Way

BECAUSE I SAID SO (romantic comedy)
Cast: Diane Keaton, Mandy Moore, Gabriel Macht and Tom Everett Scott
Director: Michael Lehmann
Time: 102 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)
Keaton and Moore as Mummy Daphne and daughter Milly

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? This romantic comedy is unabashedly derivative, formulaic and predictable. It has B-grade effort written all over it, and maintains the ambience of a cheap chick flick, especially with Mandy Moore in the cast. Yet, despite all these setbacks, I had many good laughs (of the 'LOL' kind) - thanks primarily to Diane Keaton whose control over her material is nothing short of superb.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Keaton plays her usual movie mum character - the manipulative control freak whose good intentions invariably pave the way to the proverbial hell. Her Daphne Wilder has successful bundled off two elder daughters (Lauren Graham as Maggie and Piper Perabo as Mae) to matrimonial bliss and now she is working on Milly (Mandy Moore), a wedding caterer and an accomplished chef.
Milly has just broken off with her boyfriend but instead of just letting Cupid go about his business (every viewer knows a girl with Moore's looks absolutely needs no help with men), Daphne decides to take things into her own hands. She puts up an ad on the Internet for prospective beaus for her Milly. From her efforts, she manages to snare a rich yuppie architect named Jason (Tom Everett Scott) - and sets the stage for him to meet Milly. The plan works and they start dating. Milly, however, is also dating Johnny (Gabriel Macht), a musician living with his father (Stephen Collins) and a young son.

HIGHS & LOWS: This sets the stage for the classic rom-com dilemma: to go along with Mummy's choice, or settle for someone she can really be happy with? The outcome is so predictable that you can guess it the minute you catch the 'meet-cute' sequence between Milly and Johnny.
Mandy Moore is suitably giddy-headed as Milly although she scores no points playing the two men along. Still, she manages to embody the modern woman who wants her cake and eat it - and we root for her despite her flaws. Graham (of TV's "The Gilmore Girls") provides some light moments as Maggie the psychiatrist, but Perabo's role is mostly wall flower.
Director Michael Lehmann does not have the most original script to work with but he makes up for it by keeping the pace fast and the tone light-hearted. However, his biggest accomplishment here is making full use of Keaton's talents. The Oscar-winning veteran actress gets us laughing in almost all her scenes (especially that couch sequence with Collins) and we can even forgive her for repetitive gags like the scenes involving Internet porn on her computer.

THE LOWDOWN: Recycled gags or not, this is one comedy that every mother's child would definitely enjoy. Why? Well, because I...


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