A self-centered realtor enlists the help of his neighbor when he's suddenly left in charge of the granddaughter he never knew existed until his estranged son drops her off at his home.
Remember when Rob Reiner used to be a really good director? I mean, this is the guy that brought the world This is Spinal Tap, Stand By Me, and The Princess Bride, to name just a few. Somewhere along the way, though, Reiner stopped making thoughtful, witty, and at times emotionally powerful films, and started churning out a lot of rom-com dreck. Sadly, 'And So It Goes' is more of the same, redeemed only slightly by the acting quality of its two leads, Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton.
Douglas stars as Owen Little, a real estate agent and widower who is trying to sell his rather expensive home because it reminds him of his now-deceased wife and the life he used to have. He's not even living in his home anymore, but rather in one of the apartments in a complex that he rents. The apartment next to his is lived in by Leah (Diane Keaton), a wannabe lounge singer whose spouse also died a few years back. Owen isn't known by his neighbors for his goodwill, although he comes across as more curmudgeonly than a downright bad person.
Owen gets a visit from his son, Luke (Scott Shepherd), who informs Owen that he's going to jail for nine months on drug charges (an interesting real-life comparison here, as Douglas' own son, Cameron, is currently serving time for drugs), and he wants Owen to look after his daughter, Sarah (Sterling Jerins), while he's in prison. Owen initially refuses, but doesn't have much of a choice when his granddaughter is dropped off at his apartment shortly before Luke turns himself over to the authorities.
Of course, the movie isn't nearly as much about Owen bonding with his granddaughter as it is the screenplay using the granddaughter as a plot point to help Owen and Leah come closer together. When Douglas and Keaton share the screen, the movie is – at the very least – bearable, as these two actors have the ability to make even the most standard of screenplays interesting. However, Reiner's movie (which was written by As Good As It Gets' Mark Andrus) seems to think that the Owen/Leah relationship isn't enough, as if audiences would get bored watching a movie about a romance between seniors. So we get this subplot with the granddaughter and her jailed father, that I don't think the story really needed, although young Sterling Jerins holds her own here and at least doesn't come off as one of those 'cutesy kid' young actors.
Viewers who brave disappointment and actually decide to sit through the movie will immediately note one thing: the story works much better when it's playing straight than when it's going for laughs. Whether it's Owen firing a paintball gun at a dog or director Rob Reiner himself (in a bit part as Leah's piano player who sports a really bad toupee) taking a pratfall, 'And So It Goes' tries too hard to be funny, and doesn't deliver many laughs. However, when the movie addresses both Owen and Leah's grief over their respective departed spouses or deals with the loneliness in their lives, the story becomes engaging. Sadly, we don't get a whole lot of that in the 93-minute running time – but there's a good movie somewhere hiding inside this slightly below-average one.
If either Michael Douglas or Diane Keaton are favorites (or if both are), 'And So It Goes' is one of those movies you might want to rent on some rainy evening when you've extinguished the list of everything else you've been wanting to get around to watching. Otherwise, don't feel too bad if you miss out on this one, as I'm sure both Douglas and Keaton will be doing much better work in the years ahead. Unfortunately, I'm not sure we'll be able to say the same about Director Rob Reiner. This type of movie seems to be all he's capable of doing these days.
The Blu-Ray: Vital Disc Stats
'And So It Goes' arrives on Blu-ray in an eco-friendly Elite keepcase, which houses the single 25GB disc, along with an insert containing a code for a UltraViolet digital copy of the movie. The Blu-ray is front-loaded with an ad for Digital HD, followed by trailers for The Longest Week, If I Stay, and 'Before I Go to Sleep'. The main menu consists of a montage of footage from the movie, with menu selections running along the bottom of the screen.
This Blu-ray release is Region A locked.
'And So It Goes' was shot digitally on Arri equipment, and like a lot of digital movies, this one seems to suffer between well-lit outdoor shots and those that take place in more dimly lit environments. The outdoor stuff (as well as scenes that take place in the realty office where Michael Douglas' character works) are full of color and detail. However, when the movie moves into other locations, such as the clubs where Diane Keaton's character sings, things tend to get a little more soft looking, although black levels are still decent enough to allow for distinction between objects.
Fortunately, much more of the movie seems to take place in bright locations than dark ones, so overall this is a pretty good-looking transfer. There are no glaring technical issues, either…so no problems with banding, aliasing or the like. So, other than a few scenes of softness, this is a decent Blu-ray transfer from Fox.
The one and only audio track here is an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that is way more than this movie needs, given this is primarily a 'talking' comedy/drama, with little in terms of action. In fact, I only noticed the rear speakers coming into play a few times during the movie, usually during the club sequences where Diane Keaton's character is performing. Which is not to say the rears aren't in use, but it's more subtle and less-noticeable to the ears. Clarity and distinction of sound is pretty noticeable, however, and separation here is very good. There's also zero problems with glitches, dropouts, or the like.
So while this isn't the type of track that's going to show off your home theater set up, it does its job admirably, and renders the dialogue and soundtrack to the movie pleasantly.
In addition to the lossless track, subtitles are available in English SDH, Spanish, and French.
Yet another disappointing directorial effort from Rob Reiner, 'And So It Goes' is redeemed only by the talent of its two stars, Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton, who nevertheless won't be remembered for the work they do in this movie. The plot is standard, by-the-numbers stuff, although things do sparkle a bit when Douglas and Keaton share the screen. However, this is the kind of title you'll only want to check out if you're a fan of one of the two leads. Rent it.