Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Because I Said So

Initial Reaction: It's over!! There is a God!!

I, like many of you, have seen a number of movies that I've appreciated to varying degrees. There have been films that I have loved and defended passionately. There are ones that I greatly enjoy, but wouldn't label them as "great movies." Then there are those on the other end: films I've hated because of the ideology they push or because of gratuitous violence. I've felt "meh" about many movies, not impressed but glad to have some kind of distraction in front of me. Then there are those that are just painful to watch.

Because I Said So falls into the last category. I'll be honest, I initially had reservations about seeing it; my tolerance for rom coms and chick flicks has been lessening lately. But I was having a fun night with a friend, and sometimes those movies are cute when you watch them with fellow females. I should've listened to my gut.

From the very opening scene I felt uncomfortable. It was more like watching actors improvise a movie than watching an actual movie. When the movie began, I was bombarded by numerous characters, situations, and lines being spoken quickly and at the same time. Not to mention some subpar cinematography (which says a lot--I seldom notice that sort of thing). I got the distinct feeling as I watched that the actors themselves hated this movie. And that's a bad sign.

Anyway, we are introduced right away to the Wilder family, which includes mother Daphne, and daughters Maggie, Mae, and Milly. Thankfully the older two are already married, but mother Daphne can't help but get way too caught up in her daughter Milly's life. She wants to see her happily married to a very specific sort of man, but Milly has decided instead to throw herself into her career as a chef.

The humor in Because I Said So was more of an annoyance to me than any kind of comic relief. I just wanted them to stop doing funny things. Unfortunately, the humor usually centered around Diane Keaton's character Daphne, and Diane Keaton was horrendous in this film. Annoying, superficial, hyperactive, unappealing and loud, her screen presence was like fingernails on a chalkboard. Since she was intended as the most comic character, this really destroyed any potential that Because I Said So had as a comedy. So let the record show that the "com" from its genre "rom com" is officially absent. I mean, when the running joke is when the "funniest" character walks onto a chaotic scene carrying a huge cake that she spent hours on (and you can guess what happens next), eyes are going to roll.

As for the rest of the characters, Mandy Moore was pretty watchable, but played one of the two characters she always tends to play: the sweet girl. This is fine, but before long her saccharine smile started to make me feel nauseous. One of her love interests (Gabriel Macht) is pretty decent, while the other (Tom Everett Scott) seems to be made of cardboard.

Milly's sisters, played by Lauren Graham (part of the reason I bothered with this movie in the first place) and Piper Perabo have significantly more success with the comedy of the film, but aren't given much to work with and unfortunately are hugely overshadowed by Moore and Keaton.

So, the plot: Milly is single and wanting a man. Mom wants to help, so she goes online, posts a personal ad, and interviews the suitors herself. Most of these have zero potential anyway (surprise: the scene includes a long line of unattractive/unpolished men trying to impress mom... unfortunately, the most funny scene), but at the end of the day, Prince Charming shows up. I'm not even going to give his name. That's how much I care. Anyway, mom decides he is good enough and he makes plans to happen to meet Milly. In the meantime, there's a musician in the room observing this process. He goes and talks to mom to see what she's up to and she explains it to him. He, of course, decides he'll give the daughter a go as well, takes one of her business cards, and leaves.

The long and short of it is that Milly starts dating both men. Mom pushes the one she chose (while not giving away the fact that she chose him in the first place) but Milly seems to prefer the other guy. It's the standard "who is right for me?" problem. There's conflict, there's sweetness, there's baking. In the end, in one of my least favorite scenes from the movie (there are so many to choose from), (SPOILER) she tells off the "wrong" guy because of such reasons as: "You liked what my mother wanted me to wear" and "I just ruined my souffle." Obviously, people, there isn't much here. It's a ridiculous scene that's supposed to be the emotional climax and the main thrust of the "romance" in the film. And so, let the record show that the "rom" part of "rom com" is also absent. Oy.

There were no lines that were memorable, so I'll give you the worst scene instead: Mom asks Milly what an orgasm feels like. Enough said.

Rating: -15

Poorly shot, disappointing in the acting department, painfully unoriginal, and a flop of a comedy, Because I Said So does not have high heights to reach. It achieved a whopping 6% (Rotten) on Rottentomatoes.com. While watching it I felt genuinely uncomfortable because it was so bad. The last scene is a beautiful wedding, and we're supposed to all feel really happy. The movie actually succeeded in making me happy here, if only because I knew it was the end and I didn't have to watch it anymore.

14 comments:

Particle Man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Particle Man said...

wow, WLC, that just might be your most negative review ever. it's disappointing that Moore was involved in a project this harmful to children and small animals, as i've loved her in the only two movies i've seen her in, Saved! and A Walk to Remember. to be fair, though, she did play only two roles in those; the good girl in AWtR and the evil girl in S!. i guess she can't reach much further past that.

Dr. Worm said...

Wait, hold the phone--You liked Mandy Moore in A Walk to Remember, Particle Man?

I don't know what to say. I'm totally speechless. You could have just told me that you like the taste of urine and I wouldn't be this floored. Moore made me throw up seven or eight times during AWtR. And you liked her in it?

I think this needs further explanation. And if anyone else has seen AWtr and wants to weigh in, please do.

Oh, and by the way, excellent review, WLC.

Your Racist Friend said...

I regretfully need to side with DW, here. AWTR was nowhere near as good as the book, which wasn't very good. But I don't think that it was that Mandy Moore was SO bad in AWTR, rather than the movie sucking hard. From what I remember, anyway.....

Stormy Pinkness said...

Because I said so was painful. It wasn't just bad but painful. I had the same feeling as WLC did when the movie ended. You really captured the hate WLC!

Wicked Little Critta said...

AWtR was not a very good movie. The book was much better, and I really liked it. AWtR (the movie) had it's bad points, but I thought it had a number of good qualities to it. Moore was fine in it, I guess. I don't really feel like her screen presence worked for her character, though. She had too much style and attitude to play a frumpy, innocent, unpopular high school student.
I think she does mean girl better, though.

Particle Man said...

oh, get off your freakin' drama-horse, DW. Moore was great in AWtR. she was very understated, innocent without being saccharine, and i had a LOT of empathy with her character. granted the scene where she sings was a huge mistake, but overall, i thought the movie was very good and affecting. if the rest of you didn't, well then, you smell bad. i've never read the book, though. that may be why. see, WLC, the fact that she has so much style in her normal life wasn't a problem for me. i thought she pulled off the unpopular HS student pretty well.

didn't see Because I Said So, though...

Moshe Reuveni said...

Thanks, WLC, for an entertaining review of a film about which I've never heard before. I don't even know any of the actors other than Keaton, but now you‘ve made me quite curious (maybe I'm masochistic at heart).
I have to say the review's opening statement ("there is a god") managed to keep me suspended throughout the review, looking for that ultimate answer. I was disappointed, though.
Anyway, as someone who still remembers the look on my father's face when, at the age of 10, I asked him what an orgasm is (bumped into the term quite repetitively in a book I was reading - Jem by Fredrik Pohl), I wouldn't dismiss parent to child orgasm related jokes so easily.

Particle Man said...

i just took a closer look at your original post, WLC. Mom asks Milly what an orgasm feels like? Mom has never had an orgasm? never??? considering the fact that she has three kids, that seems preeeeeeeeeeeeaty unlikely. it's not impossible, i suppose, but that stretches the limits of my suspension of disbelief.

Wicked Little Critta said...

Exactly, PM!
It's supposed to be a touching moment, not a funny one. I can see where they were going with that, but when set upon the backdrop of this bad movie, it makes it just unpleasant to experience.
Moshe, the reason behind my claim that God exists is because the movie ended, and therefore a merciful God must be at work. Just a joke. :)

Dan said...

I'm still baffled, PM. I mean, you have your right to your opinion and all, I just totally disagree. I thought she was overstated, not at all innocent, and quite saccharine. I had no empathy whatsoever with her character, though I will agree that the scene where she sings was a mistake. Of course, so was the rest of the movie.

I will say that Moore wasn't nearly the worst part of the movie for me. That award goes to the baffling decision that was made to punish Shane West's character by... giving him a role in the school play.

Seriously, does that make a lick of sense? "I'm glad you all tried out, kids, but I'm afraid there are no roles left. We gave the last one to this guy to teach him a lesson."

Moshe Reuveni said...

Got the joke, WLC, it's just that I was really looking forward to an answer there :)
Besides, "there is a god" is an expression I tend to reserve for when my football team scores the winning goal in injury time. They haven't been doing that lately, though.

Particle Man said...

i think the rationale behind that was "in this backwater town, NO ONE tries out for the school play, so we have to give parts away to juvenile delinquents, because all the regular kids are way too cool." weak, i know. i'm not saying the movie was the new Citizen Kane or anything, but it was definitely better that you're giving it credit for. and think about it, DW. can you think of a reason WHY i would have boatloads of empathy for Moore's character? think hard...

Dr. Worm said...

No, I totally get why AWtR has emotional resonance for you. It makes sense. And maybe that's just the answer to our difference of opinion. You like the movie/Mandy Moore because it/she speaks directly to you. I suppose I can allow that.