Something’s gotta give with Diane Keaton. I’ll admit she possesses a unique brand of comedy that I found disarming in early Woody Allen pictures. But this is one shtick that has long worn out its welcome.
Hollywood portrays Keaton as the icon of a vigorously independent senior demographic, but she cheats her audience by typifying the stereotype of an irrational, hormonal older woman.
A typical Keaton performance now consists of three key elements: manic babble, violent arm flailing and multiple emotional breakdowns.
And while she may have had a flair for fashion at some point (Is it now in Keaton’s contract that every movie she’s in has to have a picture of her when she was young and iconic?), it is now buried under a pile of gargantuan scarves and tinted glasses.
Her neurosis is usually fine as long as she has a steadying influence to offset her frenzied persona. (Calling Jack Nicholson). But when her hyperactivity is bounced off the likes of Mandy Moore, Lauren Graham and Piper Perabo, the results end up looking like the derivative, disastrous Because I Said So.
In Because I Said So, Keaton portrays the over-bearing Daphne, a single mom of three nearing 60. Two of her alliteratively named daughters, Maggie (Lauren Graham) and Mae (Piper Perabo), are married, while single Milly (Moore) garners all of her mom’s attention.
Daphne wants to find a suitable suitor for Milly, who is the youngest catering business owner ever. So, she places an ad to meet men and comes across yuppie Jason (Tom Everett Scott) and musician’get ready for more alliteration’Johnny (Gabriel Macht).
Milly starts meaningful relationships with both men and is torn over which is right for her, while Daphne continues to prod and mettle.
Director Michael Lehman, who made the definitive anti-chick flick 18 years ago with Heathers, is now slurping from the corporate Hollywood punch bowl. Working from a cringe-inducing script by Karen Leigh Hopkins and Jessie Nelson, he litters this trainwreck with every chick-flick clich’ imaginable, and even tosses in some potty humor to boot.
And in the middle of it all is Keaton, whose zeal used to be appealing, but comes off here as vain cruelty. The oversized belts she proudly displays in Because I Said So are perfectly symbolic of an actress who needs to check her oversized ego.