Keaton clicks with Douglas in ‘And So It Goes’

07/24/2014 11:30 AM

07/25/2014 11:31 PM

Two old pros show the kids how chemistry works in a romantic comedy in “And So It Goes,” a love-the-last-time-around romp that’ll give its target audience the warm fuzzies.

Diane Keaton dons one stylishly kicky outfit after another – hats included – trills “La di dah,” or words to that effect, and all is well in this high-rent corner of Connecticut, where the perfectly-coiffed Michael Douglas plays her permanently grumpy Realtor neighbor.

They fight, flirt, annoy and court like it’s 1979. This Rob Reiner comedy has the Oscar-winning heir to Hepburn and the Oscar-winning Son of Kirk in grandparent mode, just a couple of spry old-timers forced together when the granddaughter he never knew moves in and prefers the company of the neighbor lady, who cannot stand him.

Oren Little (Douglas) is waiting on that one last big sale before retiring in tony suburban Bristol. After 44 years in the business, he’s selling his priciest listing – an $8 million mansion that was his home. Widowed, he drives to showings in his vintage Mercedes convertible, himself immaculately turned out, the house immaculately staged. It’s overpriced, but telling him that sets him off.

“Wiggle room” to Oren is another way of saying “extortion,” as “rape is just another form of affection.” Yes, he goes nuclear in a heartbeat.

His neighbors in the charming waterfront fourplex he’s downsized to have to contend with rudeness, selfishness and general boorishness, which his second martini only accentuates. The little boys of one neighbor have a code phrase for cranky Oren: “TOO MUCH NOISE!”

Leah (Keaton) is a widowed lounge singer who fronts a jazz combo (Reiner plays the toupeed piano player) who cannot get through a set without talking about her late husband and weeping. The tactless Oren is the last guy she’d be interested in, age-appropriate or not – even after Oren shares his own widowhood woes.

But when his estranged, ex-junkie son (Scott Shepherd) shows up and drops Oren’s granddaughter, Sarah (Sterling Jerins), on Dad as he heads off to prison, Oren’s crankiness endures its toughest test. Leah steps in and that throws the two adults together, awkward though his pick-up lines eventually turn out to be.

It’s all adorably light, aside from the odd, jarring moment when Oren has to face the ultra-realistic addicts of his son’s former life.

Mercifully, the movie isn’t about the child. But the jokes, sight gags and comic situations never aim higher than cute and often fall short. Oren is kind of a half-hearted ogre, and Keaton’s Leah is half-greatest hits performance, half-wardrobe, with that wardrobe looking like half the picture’s budget.

Still, seeing these veteran players go through their paces, find their comic rhythms and probe for laughs where many a laugh has been found before is not a bad thing.

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