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Reviewing the Reviews: 'Because I Said So'

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Because_lA new psychological study suggests that men like romantic comedies as much as women do, but these reviews prove that women can hate them as much as men do. EW‘s own Lisa Schwarzbaum gave us the set-up and a sample of the universal sorrow being expressed for Diane Keaton’s participation in this film: “Her clothes are as cool as ever, but her character, Daphne—a divorced mother of three grown daughters (Lauren Graham, Piper Perabo, Mandy Moore) who meddles neurotically in the love life of her youngest girl, Milly (Moore)—is an unbelievable mess. I mean actually unbelievable, a blur of romantic-comedy foibles (she’s a ditz at technology, afraid of romance herself) nevertheless costumed with the confidence of a babe who’d give, say, Jack Nicholson a run for his money.” The Washington Post‘s Ann Hornaday concurred: “Hooting and pratfalling her way through a mortifyingly demeaning role, her lithe frame forced into a succession of ridiculous cinch-waisted get-ups, Keaton resembles a whooping crane on Ritalin, in a borderline psychotic turn.”

The men sharpened their own catty claws to see who could deliver the finest diss: The Charlotte Observer‘s Lawrence Toppman had heat with this opening: “Perfection is humanly impossible, so I can’t honestly report that Because I Said So is a perfect cliche from end to end.” But Planet Sick-Boy‘s Jon Popick won when he went postal: “As it was, I was so angered and bored by So, I spent the bulk of the running time thinking of creative ways for the characters to be murdered.”

As you can imagine, the film’s title was ripe for pun-tastic headlines: “Because I Said So is sadly so-so,” read The Arizona Daily Star.  “Diane Keaton, I Say No!” exclaimed The New York Observer. “A Diane Keaton flop? Say it ain’t so,” lamented The Christian Science Monitor. “To say the least,” zinged The St. Paul Pioneer Press. Critics also used the title in their closing arguments: “If anyone asks why you don’t want to go, you know the answer: Because I Said So,” said The Arizona Republic‘s Bill Muller.

addCredit(“Because I Said So: Suzanne Tenner”)

All that said, I’m still going to see this movie tonight. (And notbecause Static Guard, which apparently gets a shout-out in the film,sent me a handmade valentine, complete with two boxes of Sweethearts, twobags of microwaveable popcorn, and two bottles of their product. And a$20 gift certificate to a theater chain.) And you are going as well,Ron Kelly, the friend who just sent me an e-mail with a link to CNN‘s review and the words “Uh oh.” (Not that we need to after the San Jose Mercury News‘ Bruce Newman felt compelled to spoil every moment of the film. Not acceptable, even for a film this predictable, Mister.)

Will we be the only ones braving this flick directed by Heathers‘ Michael Lehmann, who The Hollywood Reporter‘sSheri Linden pointed out, “isn’t above using Daphne’s pet dog forfrequent reaction shots”? And what romantic comedy disappointed you themost? Must Love Dogs, anyone?