I wanted to murder every character in Because I Said So. If there was an opportunity to magically beam myself into its world I would gladly have taken it to exact revenge on this irritating film. Shotgun and humming chainsaw in hand I would show no mercy to any of the characters as I’d make my way to the main beast of this feature – Diane Keaton’s Daphne Wilder.
Raising three daughters on her own Daphne Wilder has always sought the best for her girls, going to any lengths to ensure their happiness. With her eldest children Maggie (Lauren Graham) and Mae (Piper Perabo) married off, Daphne’s mothering skills turn to her youngest Milly (Mandy Moore). A disaster with men Daphne fears that Milly will turn out exactly the way she has, lonely and man-less. In order to counter her daughter’s bad decisions she places an ad in the personals and meets with potential bachelors in order to choose a man for her. Once a successful suitor has been found the plan is to set up a meeting with Milly as if it was predestined by fate. Of course, things don’t go as planned.
It all sounds innocuous enough, but I detested Because I Said So. It is my most horrendous cinema experience of 2007 and I doubt it will be outdone by another film this year.
It’s not that I’m completely adverse to the chick flick genre. When done properly I believe it can work for all audiences – be they female or male, gay or straight – but Because I Said So is so contrived and forced, in both its conception and delivery, that I found absolutely no redeeming qualities therein for anyone.
Diane Keaton and her performance are largely to blame for this. As Daphne Wilder, Keaton runs around and acts exactly as her character’s surname suggests. She shows no restraint with her performance and actions on her part (being overly protective of her daughter), which should have made her more endearing to an audience, only pushed me further away. Instead of becoming more lovable Keaton’s performance has the opposite effect. The head spinning Exorcist tactics and mad ramblings employed by Keaton show her up as an acting one trick pony – one who seems to be struggling with her progression into old age and her loss of celebrity. She is trying way too hard to be ‘hip’.
Of course, she is not the only one to blame. Director Michael Lehmann’s uneven career has taken a nosedive since making 1989’s brilliant Heathers thanks to such horrors as Hudson Hawk (although he did manage The Truth About Cats & Dogs) and this film won’t help matters. Scriptwriters Karen Leigh Hopkins and Jessie Nelson have birthed a character that is nauseating to watch in Daphne Wilder. She gives mothers a bad name and I couldn’t believe how far she would stoop in order to make her daughter ‘happy’.
Some serious issues are treated as normal, natural occurrences and when Milly starts sleeping with both the men she is dating mom doesn’t bat an eyelid. Call me old-fashioned, but the boundary between right and wrong is blurred and this, for me anyway, flies in the face of what a mother should be.
Because I Said So is Hollywood filmmaking at its worst. Don’t waste your money or your time.