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February 2, 2007 | Comments ()

By Dustin Rowles | Film | February 2, 2007 |


Imagine the dullest 105 minutes of your life: Imagine sitting in a doctor’s office with nothing but a three-year-old Money magazine to look at. Or imagine being stuck in a traffic jam in a 1987 Ford Escort under a tunnel where there is no radio transmission. Or maybe imagine sitting through a slideshow of your grandparent’s senior-citizen cruise. No, that’s actually not dull enough. Imagine sitting through back-to-back commercial-free episodes of this season’s “Lost.” That’s still not quite tediously unexciting enough. How about a three-hour Catholic mass, or televised confirmation hearings? Reading through thousands of eHarmony personal ads? No, no. Worse. A Dane Cook stand-up performance? A Tampa Bay Buccaneers football game? Any soccer match? Leno?

No. None of those will do. I’d take any of that over sitting through Because I Said So again. I am telling you, I haven’t seen a movie this relentlessly mind-numbing since last year’s Super Bowl chick flick, The Wedding Date. There is absolutely nothing remotely interesting in the film. It’s more than formulaic. More than excruciatingly predictable. It was as though director Michael Lehmann (also responsible for the snoozer 40 Days and 40 Nights) and his scriptwriters pulled only the flattest, most uninspiring scenes from every romantic comedy they could steal from, and then they tried to tone down the enthusiasm. And I like both Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore. But Because I Said So was just a phenomenal waste of talent, and the fact that Keaton would stoop so low as to star in it — well, it’d break my heart, if it hadn’t stopped beating halfway through the film.

But, my God, Because I Said So was profoundly boring. Just unflinchingly lifeless. It didn’t even warrant outright hatred, something I’d have to work up the energy to produce. Because I Said So sucks the life right out of you. I had to get one of the theater employees to use a defibrillator just to get me out of my seat again. Two Red Bulls and a cold shower later, I still haven’t recovered. The flick’s lethargy is freakin’ infectious.

All right: Daphne (Diane Keaton) is a hyperactive, overprotective, neurotic mother of three daughters, two of whom (Lauren Graham and Piper Perabo) have already found husbands, which leaves just Milly (Mandy Moore). Daphne can’t seem to deal with the fact that her 22-year-old daughter hasn’t settled down into the comfortable monotony of married life, so she goes about finding her a man. And of course, she uses an online service to find and screen potential husbands, because that’s just about the least original means the scriptwriters could find to that end. Also, it offers one joyless joke when Daphne inadvertently stumbles upon online porn and calls tech support to get it off her screen.

Daphne basically finds two potential suitors, Jason (Tom Everett Scott) and Johnny (Gabriel Macht), whose names aren’t even interesting. One is a good-looking, conservative workaholic with a secure job and good hair. The other is a charming, tattooed musician who draws hearts on Mandy Moore’s hand. So who do you think that Daphne wants her daughter to end up with? And who the fuck do you think she winds up with in the end? And, along the way, do you think there is any way that spinster Daphne will find a man of her own and finally experience her first goddamn orgasm at, like, 65 years old?

There is absolutely nothing you won’t see coming. There are no twists. No surprises. I didn’t laugh once. I didn’t pull out a single hair. And I only managed to sleep fitfully for 10 minutes or so, before the snores of the elderly couple sitting next to me woke me up. This stupid, overly derivative, insufferably humdrum film was so motherfucking soporific that I actually found myself praying for a fart joke just to stifle my yawning. To break up the monotony. Anything, really: Gilbert Gottfried screaming “I’m freezing my nuts off” would’ve been a welcome respite from the oppressive indifference I had to everything else in the film.

Here: I won’t tell you which suitor delivers the “You had me at hello” moment (though I think it’s pretty goddamn obvious from the right brain/left brain choices), but this is the big heartfelt, win-the-girl line that seals the deal: “Once I saw that static cling, I wanted to be the force around you.”

And that’s the highlight of the film.

Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. He lives with his wife in Ithaca, New York. You may email him, or leave a comment below.

Because I Don't Care

Because I Said So / Dustin Rowles

Film | February 2, 2007 | Comments ()




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