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And So It Goes

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an affair to forget Keaton and Douglas assist the formerly infallible filmmaker in hitting a new low.
  • an affair to forget Keaton and Douglas assist the formerly infallible filmmaker in hitting a new low.

Are you sitting down? I'm about to coin a new phrase, and I wouldn't want to knock you over with its culturally observant pithiness. Ready? Wrinkle porn.

That's the classification I'm going to use from now on for the increasingly common phenomenon of crappy films distinguished solely by the fact that their casts are on the far side of 60.

It's true, of course, that Hollywood is obsessed with youth. Everyone makes movies for 15-year-olds. Almost nobody makes them for the Social Security set.

But, sensing a market ripe for the tapping, studios have recently begun testing the waters with product for older audiences. This should be good news. The problem is that, to date, they haven't so much tested the waters as dumped toxic waste into them.

The attitude seems to be This is an audience starved for material it can relate to. It'll show up in droves for anything about life after AARP. Quality is not a requirement. The trend may look like progress, but it's actually pandering of the most cynical variety.

If you need proof, just try sitting through Darling Companion (2012), Quartet (2012), Trouble With the Curve (2012) or Last Vegas (2013). Truly, this is no country for old moviegoers.

Onto that geriatric junk pile we now toss And So It Goes, an insipid schmaltzfest whose shocking awfulness is all the more shocking for being the work of Rob Reiner. What gives? For years the director could do no wrong. This Is Spinal Tap, Stand by Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally..., Misery, A Few Good Men — classic after classic in a mind-blowing, 10-year run.

Then, in 1994, things went south with North, and the filmmaker hasn't been able to pull out of that creative death spiral since. Have you even heard of 2010's Flipped? Doubtful, as it grossed less than $2 million. That's this close to going straight to video.

The prospects look equally bleak for Reiner's latest, which stars Michael Douglas as a cranky real estate tycoon and Diane Keaton as the world's least believable lounge singer. They meet when Douglas moves into a lakefront complex while awaiting the sale of his estate. Naturally, she lives next door.

Because these two are the only ones who don't realize immediately that they were created for the sole purpose of falling in unlikely love, fate provides a ham-fisted nudge. This is the kind of movie in which a character's son (Scott Shepherd), a reformed addict, shows up, announces he's about to begin serving a prison sentence, and asks his grinch of a dad to look after his 10-year-old daughter (Sterling Jerins). It's the kind of movie in which "Heroin's an ugly drug, but it gave me a beautiful girl" is not a punch line.

The tyke adopts Keaton as her new "grandma" and moves in. This development, first, means Keaton can now play Grammy Hall when Woody Allen's immortal comedy is inevitably remade; and, second, it provides the impetus for Douglas to drop by, bond with the new women in his life and, little by little, become less of a dick. All of which a cataract patient could see coming a mile away, and none of which is handled with originality or wit.

The direction is phoned in and the dialogue is inane (what's with the nonstop penis jokes?), while the film's performances occupy a category of embarrassment all their own.

Douglas flails in search of a credible comic tone, and Keaton doesn't really play a character so much as wear a succession of signature getups. You know the type.

This is wrinkle porn at its most synthetic and lazy. All involved are at the fake, cheesy, brain-dead bottom of their game. And so it blows.

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