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Because I Said So

Because I Said So is a flick to be seen only by the most desperate of chicks—as in mothers desperate to steal some time with their teenaged daughters. Although, any baby boomer females oughtta do.


Because I Said So could be as a public service announcement to all those meddling mothers out there—but also to their complaining daughters. See, Daphne Wilder (Diane Keaton) has raised her three daughters—Maggie (Lauren Graham), Mae (Piper Perabo) and Milly (Mandy Moore)—by herself, so it's only natural for her to butt in, especially when she fears her youngest, Milly, will never find Mr. Right. Taking matters into her own hands, Daphne runs an Internet ad to meet and evaluate potential suitors for Milly. The results are positively disastrous except for two possible matches: a guitarist, Johnny (Gabriel Macht), in the band playing background music during the matchmaking session and a well-off architect named Jason (Tom Everett Scott). Daphne, however, only deems Jason "long-term" enough for her daughter, writing off the tattooed Johnny as more of a fling. Luckily, Johnny manages to get Milly's phone number, and before long Milly is forced to choose between the two men, after being single for the longest time. But what she doesn't know is that her mom is responsible—well, at least for one of the guys.


Okay, it may be time for a chick-flick intervention for Keaton. The Oprah of romantic comedies, Keaton has the talent and everything else necessary to steal some of Meryl Streep's meaty dramatic roles, but she seems to prefer the safe stuff. Her performance here is no different than those in her last two movies (The Family Stone, Something's Gotta Give) and the movies are all somewhat similar, too. Point is, nice job yet again, Diane—now give us an effin' feel-bad movie! Keaton's interplay with Moore is genuinely heartfelt, even if it's not physically or biologically credible. The latter is neither actress's fault, though, and Moore, trying to shed her teenybopper past, actually displays the most growth of the two. But despite solid crying scenes and overall cutesiness, Moore also should make this her last rom-com role—unless a halfway decent script happens to come along. The supporting gals (Perabo and Gilmore Girls' Graham) fare better than the guys in the acting department, but the likely all-female audience will fall hard for Macht (A Love Song for Bobby Long). Scott (TV's Saved) is badly miscast as an affluent Romeo, only to be outdone by Arrested Development's Tony Hale, who would've lost less cred if his tiny role were reduced to a mere cameo.


You have to start to think that director Michael Lehmann's 1989 cult classic Heathers might have been a fluke, because his career has been on a decline ever since, culminating with Said So. This time around, Lehmann should've stuck solely with the tender, cheesy, feel-good theme, which is at times at least effective. But when the director tries to switch to comedy, covering everything from female orgasms to Asian-masseuse gags fit for a Cedric the Entertainer movie, the film goes so far south that it never recovers (and the masseuse bit comes early on). Unfortunately, it's not just the comedy that misfires. The male characters are barely there or even necessary, making it seem like writers Karen Leigh Hopkins (Stepmom) and Jessie Nelson (the upcoming Fred Claus, co-writer of Stepmom) merely exploited them to get to the predictable conclusion. Of course, this is a by-the-book chick flick we're talking about, but the writers and director apparently didn't want to push the envelope when it came to the supporting characters—or the main characters. Or any aspect of the movie whatsoever!

Bottom Line rated this film 2 stars.