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  • Not original, but it's nice

  • From the trailer, the expectation might be that "And So It Goes" will be a shallow, hollowed-out 94 minute exercise in nothing much. Certainly, the title conveys a casual shrug when it comes to life and relationships.
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    • And So It Goes
      94 min
      Rated PG-13
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      And So It Goes
      94 min

      Rated PG-13
  • From the trailer, the expectation might be that "And So It Goes" will be a shallow, hollowed-out 94 minute exercise in nothing much. Certainly, the title conveys a casual shrug when it comes to life and relationships.
    Actually, the film is a bit of a surprise. The audience is that under-served oldster crowd, the film a dry, geriatric romantic comedy using a familiar template (the movie "As Good as It Gets" comes to mind): a grumpy, 60-something guy, Oren Little (Michael Douglas), stylized curmudgeon, still-grieving widower, living in a cramped four-plex apartment in Bridgeport, Conn. A successful Realtor at the end of his career, he is in the process of selling his $8 million mansion, once his family home, now filled with too many memories of his deceased wife.
    Living next door to Oren is Leah (Diane Keaton), a 60ish aspiring lounge singer who is widowed (she cries mid-song if the song is too reminiscent of her husband) and sentimental.
    They are, of course, at least initially, oil and water. Oren is careless with his comments (he does reveal that he happens to own the apartment building), and is generally self-absorbed and thoughtless.
    Unexpectedly, his estranged son, Luke (John Shepherd), shows up and tells Oren he has a 9-year-old daughter, Sarah (Sterling Jerins). His problem is that he has to go to jail for nine months (insider trading) and asks Oren to watch her until he gets out. Oren says no. Impossible. Too busy. No room.
    Luke, desperate, having run out of options (Sarah's mother is a drug addict), returns with the girl and a stray dog and then leaves. It's at this point that Leah steps into the breach and the film takes a not unexpected turn. While she is compassionate and immediately embraces Sarah, Oren is standoffish, selfish and unwilling to give his granddaughter any of his time. True to form.
    The trajectory of the story is never a surprise. But it's always a pleasure to watch two still-attractive and talented actors play off each other. Does Oren gradually warm up to Sarah and Leah? Will this become a senior citizen romance? Well, sure. Are there lots of montages of Leah and Oren and Sarah growing closer, barriers dropping like so many dominos? Sure. A summer fair, perhaps? Yep. And does Oren finally have an epiphany? Count on it.
    Keaton is Keaton with brio. Douglas is always good at being Douglas. And the movie is user-friendly from beginning to end. Not original. But nice.
    And isn't it always fun to watch a misanthropic geezer learn some life lessons and discover that people matter? Indeed.
    A tangential point: I would say that, as a rule, Hollywood is not all that comfortable creating romantic comedies about older folks (the term "senior citizen" seems a bit frayed). Movies like "And So It Goes," when well done, with crisp writing, can be clearly entertaining. And there is an audience that will embrace these films, though it too often is ignored. For proof, look no further than the response to "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."
    However, what you won't see in this feeble genre is much physical contact. If a snowbird couple actually kisses, it will be a brief, almost chaste peck. Anything more will be implied. But then as a culture, we worship at the shrine of youth and watching 20-somethings, in various stages of dress, lock lips enthusiastically (etc.) is de rigueur. Oldster? Well, not so much. And so it goes.
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