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Movie Review: Because I Said So

Because I Said So
Directed by Michael Lehmann
Written by Karen Leigh Hopkins and Jessie Nelson

Welcome to perhaps the one weekend (Super Bowl weekend) that is the worst of them all, where studios know they aren’t going to get a big payday and thus, drop the worst possible chick flick they’ve got on the roster, knowing its only chance is as counterprogramming to the biggest event on Earth.  That’s all you’re getting this weekend, folks, counterprogramming; nothing the studios really believe will capture your hearts.

In Because I Said So, long-divorced mom Daphne (Diane Keaton) has three beautiful daughters, Maggie (the perpetually wasted Lauren Graham), Mae (Piper Perabo), and the unlucky and awkward Milly (Mandy Moore).  Maggie and Mae are happily married, but young Milly, despite looking like Mandy Moore, can’t seem to find a guy or be able to keep one.  One thing that is pointed out is that she has an awkward, snorting laugh that scares men away (reminds me of the scene in the spoof Not Another Teen Movie when the guy sees the hot girl but thinks she’s ugly because she wears glasses)  So the interfering mommy secretly puts out an ad where she will interview potential boyfriends and set up a “chance” meeting with the winner.

So, Daphne interviews a ton of candidates at a restaurant, all men who don’t really exist; if you’ve ever seen any kind of date movie where there’s a montage of a woman seeing multiple men, they’re all the most hopeless human garbage on the planet.  Just before finally getting to the dreamboat, Jason (Tom Everett Scott), Daphne also meets a musician, Johnny (Gabriel Macht), by chance, telling him he’s not good enough.

Soon enough, Milly runs into Jason and they start dating, much to mom’s delight, but she runs into Johnny as well, much to mom’s chagrin.  She decides to date both men, and somehow manages to juggle them with not one conflict until the movie decides to throw some random one in.

By the way, Johnny’s got a kid and his father Joe (Stephen Collins of 7th Heaven) lives with him, so because he’s an older gent he is perfect for Daphne in good ol’ Movieland.

Yeah, this is a pretty terrible movie.  There are scenes that just had me scratching my head with disbelief and most of all, it’s just not funny.  This ”hopelessly awkward” thing the filmmakers decide to put with Mandy Moore just doesn’t fit,; and they throw in traits at random: For instance, when she starts calling everything “great” all of the sudden, so that mom can scold her about her lack of synonyms, only to fall into that “great” trap with Jason, who says in movie asshole manner, “It is also ’superb,’ if you’re ever looking for a synonym for ‘great.’”

There’s also a scene which I call the “didn’t know what to do, so we’ll do this” scene, where Milly is out on her first date with Jason.  The writers obviously want to do something…something…well, let’s have mom call, along with the two other conferencing daughters, so she can give them an update on how the date is going.  After the call is over, the scene switches to something else, basically leaving you hanging on what happened the rest of the night on the date.  There are a lot of scenes like that here.

There’s a scene where the mom and daughters are getting a massage from these Asian women, and we get to see their “hilarious” discussion translated as they gab about their clients in their native language.  “Sounds like Mom needs a stiff one!”  Hardy-har!  Sounds like director Lehmann and writers Hopkins and Nelson need one, too.

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