Because I Said So
PG-13
Entertainment: -1/2
Acceptability: -4

Diane Keaton, Mandy Moore, Lauren Graham, Piper Perabo. Comedy. Written by Karen Leigh Hopkins (Stepmom) and Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam). Directed by Michael Lehmann (The Truth About Cats & Dogs, 40 Days and 40 Nights, Heathers).

FILM SYNOPSIS: Diane Keaton stars as Daphne Wilder, a mother whose love knows no bounds or boundaries. She is the proud mom of three daughters: stable Maggie (Graham), irreverent Mae (Perabo) and insecure Milly (Moore) who, when it comes to men, is like flypaper for psychotic flies.

In order to prevent her youngest from making the same mistakes she did, Daphne decides to set Milly up with the perfect man. Little does Milly know, however, that her mom placed an ad in the online personals to find him. Daphne continues to do the wrong thing for the right reasons...all in the name of love.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Occasionally, I am completely stupefied as to the whys and hows a movie came into being. Once it's made, the studio has to release it, no matter how bad it is. What else can they do? But in the case of the Technicolor yawn Because I Said So, I have a suggestion. Rather than release it on an unsuspecting movie-going audience, the studio should donate each print to film schools as an example of how to not write, produce, cast, light, edit or film a motion picture.

The preparation of food is a central element in this movie, and like the preparation of a fine meal, there are so many elements necessary in making a movie just right. With comedy, it takes a light touch, kind of like the adding of spices to a dish. Sadly, no one, and I mean no one, involved in this production adds with a light touch.

I was looking forward to the film. Diane Keaton has given us several interesting performances, Mandy Moore showed promise in A Walk To Remember and Piper Parabo (Coyote Ugly), well, I just like to look at her. But if the Academy views this high school production, they may request the return of Ms. Keaton's Oscar. Mandy needs to stop preening and posing and decide if she wants to be an actress or just an MTV pop-celebrity with nice cheeks. And poor Piper Parabo, a limited actress who has stayed viable due to a cultivated sensuality, may have doomed her career with this performance.

Where was the director? Was Michael Lehmann even on the set? There seemed to be no one in control. The comedy is heavy-handed, the drama unconvincing, and the message of letting go of your grown offspring is overshadowed by hammy acting and clumsy slapstick. There are several montages, as the women folk go shopping, go restauranting, or just gab around the hearth about sex, men, sex, letting go, and sex. The cornball soundtrack grates while the characters come across as self-centered and petulant.

Ouch, I know. I'm usually a bit gentler when dissecting the efforts of others. But sitting through this film is, I surmise, much like experiencing the Chinese water torture. There's even that old stand-by movie bonding gimmick where the family sings together, not once, but twice, unsuccessfully finding pitch, let alone, harmony. Oh, it was sweet, alright. My teeth began to ache.

There's so much faux-literate verbiage, with the four actresses speaking at the same time through scene after scene, thinking they are far more amusing than they really are. It's a thin script, allowing cast members to improvise dialogue, a practice that should be avoided by movie stars. (Ever hear one give an acceptance speech? I rest my case.)

And then there are the technical aspects. When a film features four attractive women, lighting and makeup are essential. Even the most beautiful screen goddesses need a little help in order to radiate that inner glow. Unbelievably, the makeup and lighting look as if they were supplied by Earl Scheib. In a couple of scenes poor Piper wears a red lipstick reminiscent of the goop used as blood in those early 1960s Hammer horror films. The result; she looks as if she's auditioning for the part of the new Ronald McDonald. And there is one shot in the movie where Mandy is seen in a pose - well, shes always posing, but this one is lit with a golden firelight. It stands out as it is the only time such effort went into the lighting process. She looked lovely. The rest of the time the film looks as if fluorescent tubes lit the way.

Oh, I could go on, but this film doesn't deserve my time or your bucks. Let me close with one other observation. In keeping with the culture's moral torpor, premarital sex is not only accepted, its discussed between mother and daughters with all the sanctity of a Bush's Baked Beans commercial. The double entendres - and there are many of them - are presented with the subtlety of a cannon blast. Men are portrayed as caricatures like those found in a Lifetime for Women movie, and the female characters do not serve the I-Am-Woman-Hear-Me-Roar movement, as they are presented as deceitful, permissive and stupid.

Want a good chick flick? See Miss Potter, now playing in theaters. Want a funny, poignant film about a parent struggling to let his children go? Or Eat, Drink Man Woman. Want to waste your time? Go to Because I Said So.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Universal

Summary
Crude Language: Lots of sexual innuendo and several double entendras.
Obscene Language: Fortunately, the script avoids obscene language, though several discussions and situations border on the obscene.
Profanity: One use of Gods name followed by a curse and this is from Mandy Moore. The expression Oh my God, or variations of it, are used many times and by most of the performers.
Violence: People fall down a lot. The falls usually include getting covered in wedding cake. I guess it was supposed to be slapstick symbolism.
Sexual Intercourse: While these gyrating situations are done comically, there are several of them, each outside marriage. The Mandy Moore character has a sexual relationship with each of the two men she is simultaneously dating. After the lead accidentally brings up an adult site, a dog is seen watching the Internet porn twice. Then there is crude visual.
Nudity: None, but we see the women trying on clothes. An extended scene has them in their underwear. Poor Piper Parabo. In this scene, she turns so the camera can get a good view of her pantied rear. Its almost as if shes saying, See why I got the job.
Homosexual Conduct: We see a lesbian kiss in one scene. There are a few jokes and references to the gay lifestyle.
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Lots of sexually-fueled conversation. A mother/daughter discuss having orgasms. A little kid embarrasses the adults when he tells women they have a vagina.
Drug Abuse: Lots of social drinking. Several scenes feature a woman drinking alone.
Other: None
Running Time: Unknown
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults

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