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And So It Goes

And So It Goes

I’m sure some critics will be dismissive of And So It Goes, writing it off as just another
“geezer pleaser” (to use the term coined by Variety
for entertainment that appeals to an older crowd). But this sweet film
deserves a break, especially as it offers juicy leading roles to Michael
Douglas and Diane Keaton. Neither one of them sloughs off this romantic yarn:
these are conscientious actors and it’s a pleasure to watch them work together.

The screenplay, by Mark Andrus (As Good As It Gets), isn’t daring or highly original, but it offers
its stars a vehicle that calls on both their comedic and dramatic chops. Director
Rob Reiner knows this territory well and handles the material with an admirably
light touch, making the most of the story’s Connecticut setting.

Douglas plays a foul-tempered real-estate salesman who
hasn’t had a happy moment since his wife died. He lives in a modest waterfront
apartment and makes a habit of irritating his fellow tenants—including the nice
woman next door (Keaton), who works as a lounge singer. She, too, is still
mourning the loss of a spouse, but comes to Douglas’ aid when he is suddenly
given the responsibility of caring for his 10-year-old granddaughter.

Both actors bring conviction to their roles. Douglas isn’t
being cute when he’s curt with people: he’s genuinely rude and doesn’t care.
Keaton projects great warmth and does a beautiful job singing a handful of
standards. (If she weren’t any good in those nightclub scenes the whole film
would collapse.)

Few movies are destined to please every segment of the
audience. Transformers fans might
find this film boring or irrelevant; I could say the same about their favorite
summer release. But as someone who has admired Douglas and Keaton for years and
welcomes a respite from noisy summertime fare, I had a good time with And So It Goes.

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