Three out of five stars
Michael Douglas’ Oren Little is very focused on... Oren Little. He is, or at least at one time was, a very successful realtor. These days, he’s close to retirement: all he has to do is sell his sprawling ocean-side mansion. But he’s having a tough time -- he’s unwilling to negotiate the asking price, and this old rich white dude also has trouble relating to several potential buyers who aren’t white dudes. There’s also his sentimental attachment to the home he shared with his late wife, who died of cancer.
Oren is also a terrible neighbor, which is a precarious situation for the inhabitants of the apartment complex in which he lives. That’s because he also owns the place, a fact of which all of his tenants are apparently completely unaware: that the cantankerous old man who yells at their kids and won’t move his car so a very pregnant woman can park in front of the building, is their landlord. The only person who appears to get along with Oren is his next-door neighbor, Leah (Diane Keaton), a widow and aspiring lounge singer. Even so, Oren is as nice to Leah as an alligator is to a turtle.
Just when you think writer Mark Andrus and director Rob Reiner couldn’t make Oren less likable, he refuses to take care of his 10-year-old granddaughter, Sarah, who has no place to go because her father, Oren’s son and a former drug addict, is going to prison for nine months. Oren, by his own admission, was a terrible father who did little to help his son when he needed Oren most. So it’s Leah who takes in Sarah and becomes the young girl’s de facto grandmother.
Of course, Oren and Leah are destined to fall for one another. Indeed, their relationship is so predictable, it’s the only thing Nostradamus didn’t foresee: “In the year 2014, Michael Douglas’ Owen and Diane Keaton’s Leah will clumsily hook up, break up and get back together again in a Rob Reiner film written by Mark Andrus. Love, Nostradamus.”
Michael Douglas takes pride in his ability to play unlikeable characters who win the audience over by movie’s end, and he’ll no doubt win over many people with his performance here.
But no matter how great Douglas is, it’s hard to feel bad for Owen because he’s so difficult for the average person to relate to. Even when you finally believe he has a heart of gold, Oren and his sprawling ocean-side mansion are still obnoxious.
Despite its predictability and a script that feels out of touch, Douglas certainly does charm in And So It Goes, and he has excellent chemistry with Diane Keaton, who is as Diane Keaton-ish as Diane Keaton gets. For many, that never gets old. And so it goes.