Keaton's mother of all mothers makes us look like great moms

February 06, 2007|By Susan Reimer | Susan Reimer,Sun Columnist

The best that Hollywood could do for women who don't care about football or hot wings is, apparently, Because I Said So, a movie for mothers who want to show their daughters how much worse things could be.

I went to this movie so I could feel better about myself, and it worked.

I am not only a better mother than Diane Keaton - not nearly so over-involved and controlling despite the protestations of my children to the contrary.

I am also a better actress.

In this movie, Keaton reprises the character she played in Something's Gotta Give and amps her up until you can no longer bear to watch.

Keaton is shrill, flailing, prone to physical comedy and clearly, if costume choices mean anything, feeling bad about her neck.

She plays Daphne Wilder, the widowed mother of three daughters, two of whom are happily married. Or as Daphne would think of it, married off.

It is the youngest, Milly, played by the charming Mandy Moore, who is stumbling and struggling in love, and Keaton, fearing that her daughter will end up as lonely as she, sets out to find her a man.

Forget for a moment that Milly is 22, a successful caterer and living on her own in a charming apartment on the water in Venice, Calif.

If my daughter is on her own but still unmarried at that age, I would not notice, let alone comment, let alone seek "life partners" for her with a secret and impossibly long-winded Internet ad.

But that's just me.

Anyway. Mom screens, like, 50 guys, and all of them are losers until, just as she is about to give up, handsome, sensitive, successful architect Jason (Tom Everett Scott) takes a seat across from her and her Scotch and wins the job of Milly's future successful relationship.

Meanwhile, handsome, sensitive and poor-but-content guitarist Johnny (Gabriel Macht), who has been watching this impossible interview process while providing background music in the bar, decides he wants a shot at this girl.

Or at least a look at what kind of chick this nutcase hatched.

But Daphne has decided from his tattoo that he is not good enough for her daughter and forbids him to pursue her.

You can guess how this all plays out.

Wedding bells, wedding bells, wedding bells. Even for poor Daphne, who asks Milly to describe what an orgasm feels like.

Oh. My. God.

Milly gives an explanation that rivals anything Meg Ryan offered up in When Harry Met Sally. But can you imagine?

If I tried to have a conversation like that with my daughter, she would run screaming from the room, and I would have to enter rehab.

Keaton makes several Hallmark card speeches about the depth of a mother's love, but in the next breath tells her daughter that she fears she will end up like a wan and pathetic character in a Tennessee Williams play.

She tells her daughter that she considers herself a sane mother, but also says, just as her daughter is about to go off with a boyfriend, "Remember, one of your breasts is smaller than the other."

I mean, who does that?

I don't even do that and I figure I am about two ticks away from being a completely toxic parent.

I am not sure what the worst part of this movie mommy is: that she tries to turn the mother-daughter relationship into some kind of twisted sleepover, complete with sexual confessions, or that she actually believes she can pick out a husband for her daughter.

I mean, I can't even pick out a sweater for my daughter.

I give gift cards, for heaven's sake.

susan.reimer@baltsun.com

To hear audio clips of selected Susan Reimer columns, go to baltimoresun.com/reimer.

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