Remember when Rob Reiner’s last movie, Magic of Belle Isle (2012), was so bad it never played locally? Those were the days. Now, Reiner is back in theaters with And So It Goes, a fat slab of melodrama and raunchy comedy. (Well, it’s raunchy by the standards of its senior citizen demographic.) The film is quintessential late-period Reiner (that there’s even a late period Reiner to begin with is an affront to decent society), slathered in corny jokes and flat direction. None of it exists within the realms of reality and normal human interaction.
Here are some examples of the level we’re operating at and the extremes of awful hackiness that And So It Goes manages to oscillate between. First, Reiner himself makes a cameo in a bad toupee. That’s basically the joke — that he has a bad toupee. Wonderful. On the other end, this is more tactful than the Rottweiler humping a large, stuffed bear. Every other gag exists somewhere within these two extremes, all the while holding a consistent level of idiocy throughout. The actual plot isn’t much better, with Michael Douglas playing Oren, a curmudgeonly widower who’s trying to sell his giant $8 million house. He’s such a grump he keeps a paintball gun in the trunk of his Mercedes for no other apparent purpose than to shoot stray dogs. His life is upset when he’s suddenly beset with a preteen granddaughter (Sterling Jerins, The Conjuring) who gets fobbed off onto him by his former heroin-addicted son. Because of his icy heart, the girl ends up being cared for by his neighbor (Diane Keaton), a widow who still has dreams of making it as a singer.
It’s pretty easy to see where all of this is going. This is Reiner, after all, and the gooey center of the movie is never absent. This is a movie that exists to keep some sort of white-bread status quo glued together. Views of poverty are icky and filled with dirty drug addicts who live in trash-strewn streets, while precocious twins run around Oren’s neighborhood being cute and generally obnoxious. What’s bizarre about this middling view of Reiner’s values is the idiotic and ultimately vapid way And So It Goes attempts to be edgy. Various sex and anatomy gags (including one involving a pantsless preteen) pop up, while Oren walks around making rape jokes. The aim seems to be to make this dull little movie more adult and less boring. But guess what? It doesn’t work. Instead, it makes a dull rom-com for the senior set and turns it into something verging on offensive and fully steeped in stupid. Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and drug elements.