BECAUSE I SAID SO - DVD review

Because I Said So brings nothing new to the table and lacks anything remotely entertaining.

William D. Lee's picture
William
Lee

The basic formula for a romantic comedy usually follows as such, boy meets girl in some cute fashion. Despite being from two different worlds, they hit it off. Whoever the protagonist is, they are almost always involved with someone else who is obviously not right for them. Boy and girl have some sort of misunderstanding; they split in a heartbreaking manner. By the end of the film, they realize they are meant to be together and reunite in a heartwarming way as romantic music fills the ears. Don't forget to sprinkle in a few scenes of physical comedy and references to romantic films that are probably a lot better. Following a formula isn't always a bad thing. Practically every movie that's released follows some type of formula. Sometimes it's not where you're going, but how you get there that's important.

"Because I Said So" follows the essential formula for the romantic comedy and thickens the plot a little with the addition of a mother-daughter relationship. If I'm explaining everything in a dry, mechanical method, it might be because the film unfolds in such a dry and mechanical way. Now, I don't want people to think I'm not in touch with my sensitive side. I love my John Hughes movies and filmmaker Michael Lehmann (who helmed "Said So") directed another rom-com that I really enjoyed in "The Truth About Cats & Dogs." It's just that "Said So" brings nothing new to the table and lacks anything remotely entertaining.

Diane Keaton plays Daphne Wilder, the widow of an unhappy marriage and mother of three daughters. Her offspring are Maggie (Lauren Graham), a successful psychiatrist; Mae (Piper Perabo); and the youngest Milly (Mandy Moore), who runs a catering service and is probably the most like her mother even if she won't admit it. Above all else, Daphne wants to prevent her girls from making the same mistakes she has. She wants them to find a happy, fulfilling relationship even if it means meddling in every single aspect of their lives. With Maggie and Mae already married, Daphne sets her sights on finding Milly a man.

She begins her hunt for a suitor by secretly placing an online ad. The obligatory litany of geeks and losers arrive much to Daphne's dismay. What a relief it is when Jason (Tom Everett Scott) answers the call. He's a charming, handsome architect, seems to have his life in order, and speaks Italian. Looks like mom found a winner. Then, along comes Johnny (Gabriel Macht), a tattooed musician and single father who has stood witness to this sad charade. He takes an immediate liking to Daphne and tries to get a date with Milly. Mom turns him down cold. Why? Because he's a musician. And he's got tattoos. The cad.

Johnny manages to sneak in through the back door and Milly winds up dating the both of them. Things turn sour when Johnny just happens to bump into Milly while she's out with Jason. A convenient coincidence? The first sign of a lazy writer. Of course, she'll eventually realize a little too late which one is the right choice. After a bad break-up and tearful reunion and they'll live happily ever after. Along the way, mom also finds a little love in the form of Johnny's father, Joe (Stephen Collins).

Keaton has made a long and stellar career out of playing these quirky, romantic roles. She was nominated for an Oscar twice thanks to those kinds of performances in "Annie Hall" and "Something's Gotta Give." Here, Keaton is playing a caricature of those past characters. Her weepy diatribes about maternal love are simply laughable. On the other hand, her attempts at physical comedy are just not funny. While searching for online personals, Daphne accidentally finds a porn site. She suddenly becomes a stumblebum as she vainly attempts to make the porn go away. She even calls tech support. My lord, even the most ardent Luddite knows about a magnificent device called an ‘Off Switch.' When did Annie Hall get to be so annoying?

The rest of the actors are equally wasted. I've said before that I like Mandy Moore and feel she's a cut above the rest of the teenybopper peers, but she's reaching Sandra Bullock levels in terms of picking these lousy chick flicks to star in. Lauren Graham is basically playing a toned down version of the character she portrays on "Gilmore Girls", minus any semblance of witty dialogue. The same goes for "7th Heaven's" Stephen Collins as the easy-going, wholesome father. And Piper Perabo truly suffers from middle child syndrome as her character serves absolutely no purpose to the story. She could have easily been removed and nobody would have missed her. The only moment my interest was piqued at all were the brief scenes featuring Tony Hale as one of Maggie's nebbish patients. Just like everyone else, Hale is playing a variation of Buster Bluth from "Arrested Development." I still miss that show and any tiny fix I can get makes me happy.

VIDEO:
The video is presented in anamorphic widescreen with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The transfer is what you'd expect from such a new film. Everything is clean and the colors are exceptionally bright.

AUDIO:
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The sound comes is crisp and clear with the dialogue easy to decipher.

EXTRAS:
The Making of Because I Said So runs just under eight minutes and is the standard EPK featurette. It's a fluff piece where everyone interviewed talks about how great everything was.

Designing a Wilder World is a quick look at the locations and fashion of the film.

Rounding out the extras are a music video by The Weepies for the song, "World Spins Madly On", and a commercial for iVillage.

FILM VALUE:
To put it bluntly, "Because I Said So" is a terrible movie on many levels. The characters are bland and the dialogue is trite. The film pathetically attempts to tug at our emotional strings through bad soap opera moments. I hope everyone involved got a healthy paycheck since I'm tempted to ask for a cut for having to suffer through this drivel.

Ratings

Video
8
Audio
7
Extras
3
Film Value
3