For those of you who haven’t seen the extremely long and incredibly fun trailers, “Because I Said So” is a tale of love, life, family and post-menopausal sex. Diane Keaton plays Daphne, a mother desperately attempting to find a man for her youngest (and clearly favorite) daughter and caterer-extraordinaire, Milly (played by the always naive and never quite together Mandy Moore). Instead of the normal ways a mother might try to get her daughter laid (the supermarket, the doctor’s office, the neighborhood yenta), Daphne decides to exploit her technological prowess, publishing an Internet personal ad on a dating website without letting her daughter (and consequent victim) in on the plan.
After a montage of down-on-their-luck, good-for-nothing Internet respondents, Daphne finds the man of her — oh, wait, her daughter’s — dreams. Jason (Tom Everett Scott) is a successful but boring architect. He is all that a mother could ask for: tall, dark and capable of sudden and inexplicable fits of rage. After a lunch interview with Daphne, he arranges to meet Milly the next night, promising to mention neither the Internet ad nor the secret rendezvous.
All has gone according to plan until a blond musician overhears the conversation and wants to meet Milly, too. Against Daphne’s wishes, Johnny (Gabriel Macht) shows up at Milly’s office. In a would-be hysterical scene involving a statically charged balloon and a poor sartorial choice on Milly’s part, Johnny begins to woo her. Weapon of choice: Ice cream. And Milly is so innocent that the gesture secures him a place in her heart. But don’t forget about that architect! Juggling between two salivating hunks of man, two forgotten sisters and one belt-happy mom with a new boyfriend, comedy certainly ensues — or does it?
“Because I Said So” dangerously rides the cusp between comedy and offensiveness. Maybe in the ’90s, the racial objectifications and polka dots would have been fine choices, but this is the 21st century, people. The plot has all the makings of a classic, if formulaic, romantic comedy, a number of characters are notably raided from the stock pile at the WB (watching Lauren Graham and Stephen Collins interact is like watching the Flintstones meet the Jetsons), and the soundtrack is just as predictable. But in a desperate attempt to set itself apart, the movie relies on crass sexual jokes and dirty mother-daughter repartee. Let’s not cast our pearls before swine. Instead of making us cringe while watching Diane Keaton talk about circumcision, orgasms and oral sex, give us some substance. Please!
That being said, the movie had its moments. Terribly bad is surely the wrong way to describe “Because I Said So,” but it may qualify for that all-too-often neglected “Awesomely Bad” moniker. After considering this horribly reduced list of favorites compiled by the authors of this article, take a light night at the movies, go see “Because I Said So” and leave with a new appreciation of your education. You’ll know what we mean:
Favorite euphemism: poofter / doing the oompa loompa
Favorite maligned minority: Koreans / the transgendered
Favorite Diane Keaton belt: The big one / the other big one
Favorite “not-favorite” daughter: Lorelai Gilmore / the girl from “Coyote Ugly”
Favorite montage: the one that I saw / the 13 that Charles missed while he went to the bathroom.
Favorite disgusting Mandy Moore habit: tendency to jut out bottom teeth / snort laugh