Moore, Macht and a Matchmaking Mum
I have nothing against those movies labelled as "chick flicks" they can be the perfect light weight nonsense for when you just want a fun movie rather than something which requires more thought. But "chick flicks" can be a case of pleasure and pain which brings me to "Because I Said So" as it is entertaining, fun and the lightweight nonsense which doesn't need your entire focus but it is also painful when it comes to cutesy, no the corny scenes such as a sing a long let alone a discussion between mother and daughter about orgasms. It is a case of that for the most "Because I Said So" entertains thanks to good actors working their cliche characters and routine storyline well but then makes you cringe when ever it tries to be cutesy.
Daphne Wilder (Diane Keaton - The Family Stone) has raised her 3 daughters all by herself and whilst her oldest girls Maggie (Lauren Graham) and Mae (Piper Perabo) have found men and got married her youngest Milly (Mandy Moore - American Dreamz) is yet to walk down the aisle. Concerned that Milly is too much like herself and will end up with a no good husband Daphne decides to do some matchmaking and places a personal ad looking for a mate for her daughter, vetting all the applicants till she meets career minded Jason (Tom Everett Scott) who in her eyes is ideal. Manipulating Milly into dating Jason, Daphne thinks she is finally going to see her little girl settle down with a good man, except Milly also meets the laid back Johnny (Gabriel Macht) who makes her smile and so finds herself stuck between a man who could be financially supportive or a man who makes her happy, but not her mum.
Whilst the storyline to "Because I Said So" is built around Daphne interfering in the lives of her daughters especially Milly as she attempts to set her up the real story boils down to whether Milly will go for the guy who is more likely to provide a financially rich life or the guy who makes her happy. It is cliche because whilst we have the fun of Daphne placing a personal ad for a mate for her daughter and then vetting all those who respond, pushing Jason the only one that she deems suitable it does end up being about whether Milly will chose heart over head. And of course with Daphne and Jason being complicit in tricking Millie into dating him you also know that at some point the truth will come out and cause issues. As I said for all the creativity about Daphne choosing a suitor "Because I Said So" is a very routine romantic comedy.
But whilst a routine romantic comedy "Because I Said So" is also a movie which is full of comedy with some of it being quite good. Whilst Diane Keaton purposefully delivers an over the top performance as Daphne she is funny especially in the way she tries to manipulate Milly into choosing Jason over Johnny. And the open relationship she has with her 3 daughters is also quite amusing as discussions of sex crop up although it does go to far and becomes cringe worthy when we have Milly trying to describe to her mother what an orgasm feels like. Maybe women will find the orgasm scene funny but as a man it was very uncomfortable even though we have Mandy Moore trying to demonstrate what an orgasm feels like.
It is not just the comedy which ends up going too far and often attempts to be cutesy also veer on the wrong side of what's entertaining. I didn't know there was a sing-a-long scene in "Because I Said So" but I wasn't surprised when it arrived, actually I wasn't surprised when a second one turned up either. But in trying to be cute, establishing the closeness of Daphne to her daughters it not only feels false but also forced and painful for being so.
But whilst "Because I Said So" does go too far in trying to be amusingly cutesy it does feature some nice performances with Diane Keaton being amusing for being intentionally over the top when it comes to being Daphne. I say intentionally because I can't imagine for one minute that Keaton was trying to be real with her over the top antics and in many ways is similar to the performance she delivered in her previous movie "Surrender, Dorothy". And Mandy Moore does a nice job of playing Milly growing tired of her mother's matchmaking meddling yet still delivering the romantic comedy adorableness you expect as she finds herself between two men. But whilst Moore and Keaton deliver entertaining roles the likes of Lauren Graham, Piper Perabo and Stephen Collins end up being underused, almost criminally underused in the cases of Graham and Perabo.
What this all boils down to is that "Because I Said So" is fun and an enjoyable distraction movie when you want something light to watch. But as romantic comedies go it does end up going wrong as it attempts to be cute but ends up being both corny and cringe worthy.