“And So It Goes” is another enjoyable Rob Reiner comedy in the genre of “As Good As It Gets” (1997, also written by Mark Andrus). It’s a mix of sweet with a lot of sour.
Michael Douglas is perfectly convincing as Oren Little, an irascible realtor widower who is disappointed with life and unable to exhibit the least bit of compassion for his fellow human beings (or, for that matter, for a Rottweiler).
Movie poster for ‘And So It Goes.’ Coutesy/Rotten Tomatoes
Diane Keaton plays his next door neighbor Leah, a lounge singer who is also widowed. Keaton does her own singing in this film, and her piano accompanist is played by Director Rob Reiner, wearing a bad toupee.
The renters living above Leah and Oren’s flats are a young police detective and his very pregnant wife, and another young couple with three young sons. These families provide more of the human element to which Oren proves oblivious.
The story opens as Oren is about to sell the home he shared with his late wife and his, now adult, son. With the proceeds of the sale, he plans to move to a quiet spot in Vermont to live out his days. But just as all this seems to be coming together according to plan, his long estranged son arrives to leave his ten-year-old daughter, Sarah (Sterling Jerins), with Oren. Until that moment Oren didn’t even know he had a grandchild. (Telling you why the son has to find a place for her to go would be giving away too much of the plot.)
As you can guess, Oren is a long way from being your model grandparent for Sarah. Leah has to step into the lurch to comfort the girl as her father goes away. The relationship that develops between Leah and Sarah is a lovely part of the film, and serves the plot as the vehicle for Oren and Leah to get together in the end. (No, I haven’t given anything away; we knew it was that kind of movie.)
Like Jack Nicholson’s Melvin in “As Good As It Gets,” Michael Douglas’ Oren is not someone we want to like. He has no filters, doesn’t know how to talk or act around children, and is downright rude to his neighbors. His only friend is Claire (the wonderful character actress Frances Sternhagen), an office mate in the realty firm whose repartee with Oren is pointed but loving. Fortunately for all of us, over the course of this 94-minute film, Oren, as Leah says, becomes “more human.”
The film is rated PG-13 for language, references to sexuality and drugs. So, obviously, the audience is intended to be mature, people who like good dialogue rather than violent action. Teens who are used to hearing some of the derogatory (“bad”) words used in the film might be able to overlook them enough to enjoy the film.