Because I Said So

Director    Michael Lehmann
Starring    Mandy Moore, Diane Keaton, Lauren Graham, Gabriel Macht, Piper Perabo
Release    February 2nd (US) February 16th (UK)    Certificate 12A
3 stars

Lady V

20th February 2007

As open as you may be to all genres of film, you should never expect too much from a chick flick. Many are as sickly sweet as a pink wedding cake drizzled in honey and just as appealing. Step forward Because I Said So, the latest offering from director Michael Lehmann. Not necessarily a film you'd expect from the director of Hudson Hawk and Heathers, but here he's produced a sweet, light-hearted picture that, unlike many other girly films, is a joy to sit through.

Mandy Moore plays Milly Wilder, an adorable young woman who's as clumsy as she is unlucky in love. Milly's mother Daphne, wonderfully played by Diane Keaton, is distraught at watching the youngest of her three daughters move from one bad relationship to the next. Her other two daughters, Maggie (Graham) and Mae (Piper Perabo), have both found the perfect partners and have happily settled down into married bliss. Daphne decides it's time to get Milly a worthwhile relationship and puts out a personal ad, stating that she wants to find the ideal 'life partner' for her daughter, all without the poor girl having a clue what lies in store for her. Cue lots of wacky, strange and downright ugly men for Daphne to 'interview' for her daughter's hand.

Having found handsome architect Jason (Tom Everett-Scott) who she believes to be the perfect man for her little girl, she pulls some strings and arranges a 'chance' meeting. Meanwhile, another man comes onto the scene in the shape of Johnny (Gabriel Macht), a musician who doesn't have the prospects Daphne is looking for, but it's blatantly obvious to the audience he'll be the one that Milly ends up with. While Jason has the good looks and the high-paying job, it's a no-brainer that creative soul Johnny is going to be seeing more of Moore after the credits roll. Milly has the pleasure of dating (and sleeping with) both suitors, but has to make a choice about to whom her heart belongs.

Moore plays the main character perfectly. She goes through various struggles with her family - mainly her mother - and it's refreshing to see Ms. Moore has a serious acting style as well as her usual light and giggly side. Diane Keaton does a great job as the slightly pushy mother, who in all honesty does become slightly annoying, but Keaton has plenty of experience playing the uptight neurotic mother (see also her roles in Something's Gotta Give and The Family Stone for further examples). Supporting roles are also cast well, with a fine performance from Lauren Graham as the eldest sister, although quite why Piper Perabo was cast, other than for her skills at wearing a thong, is anyone's guess. As it's a girly film first and foremost, it's fairly formulaic and slightly predictable, but seeing as it's playing by the rules of the chick flick, there aren't many other faults to mention. I guess Piper Perabo in a thong won't be thought of as too much of a fault by the men in the audience.

Because I Said So is a pleasing film with heart - it's more realistic than most chick flicks and certainly not as cliched. As expected, it is aimed more at the female population and many women will relate to these likeable characters and the issues they face - they're just normal girls with normal jobs, not Bridget-esque caricatures or high-flying fashionistas. Men could appreciate it for the impressive performances but are more likely to enjoy viewing the beautiful leading ladies for an hour and a half. It's a pleasant way to spend an afternoon; you'll come out with a smile on your face and you may even shed a few tears. It might be better to leave the man at home, though.

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