Mothers in movies are often presented as meddling, overbearing, overprotective and generally just up in everyone's business. It's because they care and there's always the scene where the mother realizes that it's time to let go (or at least stop being quite so nosy), and they've done the best that they can.
However, one has to wonder about Diane Keaton's character in "Because I Said So". As one of her daughters says early in the movie, "Stop being a helicopter, Mom." Keaton plays Daphne (Diane Keaton), the single mother of daughters Milly, Maggie and Mae (Lauren Graham, Piper Perabo and Mandy Moore) who - lacking a solid relationship herself - tries to force herself into the lives of her daughters. It's sort of like a different, horribly awkward version of those parents who push their kids to be the sports stars they never were and the kids never want to be.
Trying to go online to find prospects for youngest daughter Milly, Daphne goes online and tries to interview a series of prospects (cue wacky montage), eventfully winding up with architect Jason (Tom Everett Scott, pulling off his sort of younger version of Tom Hanks thing well.) However, struggling musician Johnny (Gabriel Macht) cleverly works his way into the picture, resulting in Milly having two guys trying to win her over.
It's difficult to know where to begin discussing "Because I Said So". I suppose I could start with the odd fact that two female screenwriters came up with a movie where it is presented that women can't be without a man. Daphne continually talks about finding someone for Milly before it's too late, like if Milly didn't get into a relationship soon she'll slowly turn to dust before the sunrise after her 25th birthday or something.
There's something here that could have had more potential if the filmmakers maybe had gone a little darker (Keaton's character is a little nuts already) and edgier (although no mother-daughter relationship will ever be as darkly, bitterly funny as that of classic British sicom "Absolutely Fabulous".) Keaton's character is so bizarely persistent in her attempts to force her daughter into a relationship that she nearly gets in an accident. It's at that point that I realized: there's truly something amatter with this character.
We're eventually told the "secret" behind her issues, but it's not enough to excuse the character's over-the-top behavior and her incessant prying into the more personal details of her daughters' relationships. There's also the fact that the movie is loaded with montages, random/unnecessary pratfalls and animal reaction (the dog gets more screentime than the older daughters do, and you can tell the dog thinks the humans are crazy) shots.
Still, there's some performances to like here, such as Moore, who remains enjoyably sweet and charming, despite the fact that her character makes some seriously questionable choices - like seeing both the architect and the musician at the same time without telling either. Graham and Perabo are enjoyable as the two older sisters, but they're in the movie so little as to be an afterthought. Stephen Collins ("7th Heaven") is also good as the musician's father, who winds up with Keaton's character.
A silly amount of montages, pratfalls and random gags (Daphne's computer gets stuck on an adult site as a movie plays and, for some reason, she does not realize that turning the power off is an option) aside, the real issue of "Because I Said So" remains Keaton's character. This isn't the worst performance (although it's one of Keaton's lesser efforts), but it's how the character is written. No one in the film seems to have any idea what a manipulative, smothering (they could have called this movie "sMother") nightmare this woman is (and she gets worse throughout the film), which makes her actions seem even more dismaying.
"Because I Said So" isn't without a few positives, but the film could use some considerable reworking, starting with Keaton's character, who had the potential to be darkly comedic if the film around her wasn't so sunny and largely unaware of the character's actions. Moore - despite the character's actions - still manages to play the material with heart and offers a grounded, natural performance in a movie where few things seem realistic.
VIDEO: "Because I Said So" is presented by Universal in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality is fine enough, as sharpness and detail remain reasonably good throughout the show. Some minor edge halos and slight grain were occasionally seen, but the film was otherwise smooth and clean. Colors looked warm, if not vibrant. Overall, this was a somewhat above-average presentation.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.l presentation did open up a bit on occasion to allow the surrounds to offer some slight ambience. Otherwise, the film's audio delivered exactly what one would expect - the film is dialogue-driven and so is the majority of the audio presentation. Audio quality is fine, with crisp dialogue and score.
EXTRAS: A "making of" featurette, a production & costume design/location featurette, an IVillage ad and a music video.
Final Thoughts: "Because I Said So" has a couple of things going for it (mostly Moore), but the way that Keaton's character is written is a considerable mistake that makes the movie suffer. The DVD presentation offers fine audio/video quality, along with a couple of minor extras.
The Film C-