Making the Grades
Already contentious mother/daughter relationships move from the frying pan and into the fire within minutes of the opening credits of this film. What begins as an awkward wedding for eldest daughter Maggie (Lauren Graham), quickly deteriorates as Daphne (Diane Keaton), the mother of the bride, attends the occasion wearing too grand of a sense of relief on her face. The meddling matriarch also has designs for middle girl Mae (Piper Perabo) who has no shortage of male attention. But her baby, Milly (Mandy Moore), is so caught up in the catering service she and her mother operate together, that she never seems to notice the many men her mother foists in her direction.
Determined to see her youngest leave the nest, yet still wanting far more control than necessary over her daughter's life, the long-time divorcee places an Internet site ad inviting male hopefuls to come for an interview at a local restaurant. Following the obligatory montage of stupid looking guys (including some possibly offensive stereotypes), the last contestant shows up. Jason (Tom Everett Scott) is a handsome architect whose only fault appears to be his propensity to love working too much. Daphne is convinced she's found her winner.
However, the dark horse in this race is Johnny (Gabriel Macht), the guitar player at the club who has been observing the process throughout the day. Also divorced, he's a little too smooth and a lot too poor to impress this matchmaker.
Dialogue heavy, Because I Said So consist of scene after scene of Daphne verbally sparring with Milly, as the elder grapples with wanting an independent daughter -- yet one who will still listen to her mother. Ironically, although the two women spend a great deal of time together on the screen, the script fails to make an emotional connection between the characters. Unconvinced that they care about one another, the film just becomes a tedious torrent of words.
The movie does accomplish one thing though. It clearly affirms how tough it is to be an aging actress in the motion picture industry. Diane Keaton was once a star known for grace and style. Unfortunately it appears she's joined the "crabby mother club" -- a stereotyped role far too many over-forty women are relegated to play. Even more pathetic is the slapstick humor Keaton is required to pull off. Cakes in the face, falling off sofas, and dealing with a sex obsessed dog are not this actress's forte and only add to the tiring performances.
The dog isn't the only character fixated on sexual topics. All the females in the family (and other secondary characters) banter about many sensual issues and at some point all of them are seen (and sometimes heard... loudly) in sexual activities with various men they are not married to. (In a subtle jab at marriage, later in the film the only woman not having sex is the one who is married.) Unless you are comfortable with the characters in this movie sharing these intimate topics with your teens, there's a good chance this will be a movie you'll say "no" to -- because you said so.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Because I Said So.
Dianne Keaton’s character, Daphne, is anxious to have her youngest daughter find a man, yet she admits her marriage was terrible. Why do you think she is so motivated to bring a man into her daughter’s life? Is this inconsistent with her character and a flaw in the script?
How much input do you think parents should have in their child’s decision to marry? What are the pros and cons of giving children advice?