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Because I Said So

rom-com dinnertime


Because I Said So
cast: Diane Keaton, Mandy Moore, Gabriel Macht, Piper Perabo, and Stephen Collins

director: Michael Lehmann

97 minutes (PG-13) 2006
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Universal NTSC DVD Region 1 retail

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Ian R. Faulkner
Michael Lehmann's Because I Said So is the story of an interfering, divorcee mother, Daphne Wilder (Diane Keaton), who, having raised and married off two of her three beautiful daughters (played by Lauren Graham, Piper Perabo and Mandy Moore), turns her sights on finding a perfect partner for her unlucky in love youngest, Milly (Moore).

Milly's love life is an unmitigated disaster and when her latest relationship blows up in her face during a family outing at a health farm, she decides enough is enough and states the only answer to her predicament is to live the rest of her life as a single woman. This proclamation leaves Daphne with no choice but to take matters into her own hands. Daphne refuses to let her daughter end up like her - alone and lonely and out of time - and so she places a personal ad in a local newspaper, without telling Milly, and begins to vet the candidates.

After a long line of losers, and just as Daphne is about to give up, along comes successful and wealthy architect Jason (played by Tom Everett Scott) and Daphne is smitten. Jason is, in her eyes, perfect. The only fly in the ointment is Johnny (Gabriel Macht), the musician playing at the restaurant where Daphne has been interviewing Milly's potential beaus, and who, out of curiosity, introduces himself and ends up proposing himself as the perfect candidate for Milly's affection. Daphne is having none of it and states that there is no way she is going to set her daughter up with an attractive, charming musician who will just break her heart.

Whilst Daphne is engineering Milly's date with Jason, an intrigued Johnny, unbeknownst to Daphne, decides to meet up with Milly and, attracted by her static cling, set up a date for himself. Now Milly has two new budding romances and, with Mom firmly in the middle stirring and meddling for all she is worth, has no chance at all, as whilst Daphne wants nothing more than to secure Milly's future with Jason, Milly is drawn more towards musician Johnny and his fractured but loving family - Johnny lives with his son, Lionel (Ty Panitz) and his father, Joe (Stephen Collins).

Not sure what to say about Because I Said So. On one hand I want to rubbish it for being the most incredibly predictably romantic comedy I've seen: from the moment the principles are introduced you just know where it's going and how it is going to end. And yet, on the other hand, it did make me smile and, on a couple of occasions, laugh out loud. It also left me feeling pretty good, which, correct me if I'm wrong, is all you really want from the genre.

Okay, it is riddled with clichés and, disappointingly, Diane Keaton as Daphne is so over the top and unbelievable she actually made me cringe at times with embarrassment. It's almost like it's not actually Diane Keaton here, but someone pretending to be Diane Keaton, as her whole performance is a parody. Keaton, usually an actress I'd expect to lift up an average movie, actually brought the film down and made me wonder what she saw in the script and what drug the director was on when she phoned in this piece.

In contrast, and in my opinion the film's saving grace, Mandy Moore and Gabriel Macht as Milly and Johnny are both very good (given the limitations of the script) and are the only reason for this review scoring above the midpoint.

Overall, and despite Keaton's overacting, Because I Said So is an entertaining and light-hearted film. There is nothing new to tax the brain cells, but if you like your rom-coms and want a couple of laughs on a Sunday evening to round off the weekend, then this is for you. Admittedly there are better films out there, but for the rom-com aficionado this isn't so bad it should be avoided.

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