Because I Said So
2007, PG-13, 102 min. Directed by Michael Lehmann. Starring Diane Keaton, Mandy Moore, Gabriel Macht, Tom Everett Scott, Lauren Graham, Piper Perabo, Stephen Collins, Tony Hale.
REVIEWED By Toddy Burton, Fri., Feb. 2, 2007
With a lazy, cliché, rabid plot and paper-thin character development, Because I Said So might as well have been directed by a trained chimpanzee. Which is unfortunate to say about director Lehmann whose résumé includes Heathers and the guilty pleasure Airheads. But there is no pleasure to be found here, only guilt. Lots and lots of guilt. The perpetually single mom, Daphne (Keaton), is wildly overbearing. After marrying off her first two daughters (Perabo and Graham), she makes it her mission in life to find Mr. Right for her somewhat flighty youngest, Milly (Moore). So she does what any over-the-top meddling movie mom would do and places a personal ad, which reads, "Mother seeks life partner for daughter." After interviewing the usual parade of stereotyped movie geeks, Daphne settles upon a supposed gem (Scott), who also happens to be obsessive, anal, and totally wrong for the free-spirited Milly. Meanwhile, Milly meets rock & roll single father Johnny (Macht), a doting Mr. Perfect. Mom then proceeds to bully her daughter into dating Mr. Wrong, and the result is that Milly continues to see both guys simultaneously. Sure, dating two guys at the same time can be both good comedy and compelling drama, but here it just comes off as selfish and sad. So much so that after Milly’s two-timing is inevitably uncovered, I couldn’t help but cheer while she received a much-deserved dumping-on. But the loose plot is more of a frame on which to hang the series of sappy scenes and frankly offensive mother-daughter sexual banter. Do you really want to see Keaton giggle when her daughter talks about how good his kisses were “downstairs”? Both Macht (The Good Shephard) and Moore (American Dreamz) are somewhat charming, Collins (Seventh Heaven) is entertaining as the easygoing father, and the always-wonderful Hale (Arrested Development) is repeatedly funny. But the plot is about as revelatory as a bad Hallmark card, and the lowest common denominator humor results in a moviegoing experience that’s almost as appealing as having a conversation with my mother about orgasms.