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‘And So It Goes’ Paints By Numbers

From its opening aerial shots of the picturesque waterfront of Bridgeport, Conn., And So It Goes feels familiar — to a fault. The late-in-life romantic comedy, starring Michael Douglas as a curmudgeonly real estate agent and Diane Keaton as the sweet-natured lounge singer who wins his heart, has been directed by Rob Reiner in a clear effort to re-bottle the lightning of such hits as Nancy Meyers’s It’s Complicated and James Brooks’s As Good As It Gets. Taking one element from column Meyers, one from column Brooks and adding a side dish of Nora Ephron as needed, Reiner assembles a square meal of rom-com pleasure points, but it’s bland, by-the-numbers and not particularly memorable.

Douglas plays Oren Little, a prosperous widower who, still grieving for his late wife, has put his multimillion-dollar mansion up for sale and taken residence in a cramped four-plex he owns. One of his neighbors — and renters — is Leah (Keaton), a widow who sings romantic standards at a local pub, usually breaking down in tears midway through.

Doing his best to channel Jack Nicholson at his most anti-social, Douglas grumps and gruffs his way through the first scenes of And So It Goes, during which he angrily shoots a dog with a paint gun for pooping on his lawn, and inspires the neighbor children to imitate him yelling “Too much noise!” while wagging a peremptory finger. (It bears noting that the schematic, pro forma script was written by Mark Andrus, who wrote As Good As It Gets, the classic Nicholson-misanthrope vehicle.)

We all know where this is going, so suffice it to say that And So It Goes never upends those expectations for good or for ill: If it’s reassurance and mild-mannered smiles viewers are after, this is the place.