Tag Archives: Diane Keaton

Just Keep Swimming

The forgetful little blue fish from ‘Nemo’ makes a splash of her own

(Pictured) DORY. ©2013 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Finding Dory

Starring the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Ty Burrell & Idris Elba

Directed by Andrew Stanton & Angus MacLane

PG

“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming,” said Dory, the little blue tang in Finding Nemo, the 2003 Disney/Pixar hit about a father clownfish’s across-the-ocean search for his abducted son.

And keep swimming she has—Dory now splashes right into her own movie, a sea-worthy spin-off about her own search for the loving parents she barely even remembers.

In Finding Dory, which takes place one year after the events of Finding Nemo, Dory—still coping with her lifelong inability to remember anything—suddenly recalls a memory fragment of her mother and father (Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy). Overjoyed that she has a family, she sets out on a quest to locate them, bringing along young Nemo and Marlin, his reluctant dad.

Ellen DeGeneres once again provides the voice of Dory, with a perfect grasp of the delicate emotional shadings of comedy, drama and trauma in her struggle to piece together the shards of her past as she leaves her colorful coral reef and heads to the dark, debris-clogged shores of California. Albert Brooks reprises his role as Marlin, and newcomer Hayden Rolence is Nemo.

FINDING DORYThe new movie does a great job, just like Nemo, of creating a world teeming with aquatic creatures—although we meet most of them not under the sea, but inside a marine institute, which is where Dory, Nemo and Marlin eventually come to the surface. Two sea lions (The Wire’s Idris Elba and Dominic West) fiercely guard their rock from interlopers. Ed O’Neill is a hoot as Hank, the misanthropic camouflaging “septopus” (an octopus with only seven tentacles) who longs to remain in captivity rather than return to the wilds of the ocean. Modern Family’s Ty Burrell cracked me up as Bailey the beluga whale, so proud of his abilities of echolocation, the sonar-like location of objects by reflected sound. Paired with Destiny (Kaitlin Olsen from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), a nearsighted whale shark, they’re quite a team.

FINDING DORYThere’s a road full of adorable otters, a loveably dorky ocean loon, Becky, who doesn’t say a word, and a great running joke about real-life actress Sigourney Weaver, who’s heard but never seen.

From the opening Pixar short (Piper, about a little sandpiper) to the credits (when Hank the octopus gets one last time in the spotlight), it’s all great fun, rollicking adventure and quite heartwarming. Director Andrew Stanton, who also steered WALL-E and Finding Nemo, and co-director Angus MacLane keep the pace lively, the jokes funny and the message clear: Friends are family, too.

There may be tears, and little ones, especially, may be more affected than grownups about Dory’s wrenching separation from her parents and her unflappable hopes that she will find them. This is, after all, the House of Mouse, the company that gave us Bambi, Pinocchio and Dumbo—not to mention Old Yeller, The Lion King and that flashback scene in Up.

But remember what Dory says: Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. You’ll make it.

—Neil Pond, Parade Magazine

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Ho-Ho-Hokum

‘Love the Coopers’ is snow-covered Christmas gloop

(Left to right) Diane Keaton and John Goodman in LOVE THE COOPERS to be released by CBS Films and Lionsgate.

Love the Coopers

Starring John Goodman, Diane Keaton, Alan Arkin, Ed Helms & Olivia Wilde

Directed by Jessie Nelson

PG-13

In the early moments of this sprawling Christmas comedy, characters somehow appear to end up “inside” a snow globe, frolicking in the crystalline white flakes.

There’s a lot of snow in Love the Coopers; the stuff never stops falling. I was surprised by the end of the movie that it hadn’t shut down every road in Coopersville, or Cooperstown, or Coopers Knob, or wherever it is the story takes place. Instead, like a gigantic snow globe, the movie just seems to regenerate the same precipitate, shaking it up over and over again—so it doesn’t pile up, it just flies around and re-lands, making everything look like a big, fluffy white winter wonderland, snow on snow.

Love the Coopers indeed looks like a picture-perfect Christmas: sumptuous cookies and cupcakes, colorfully coordinated sweaters, coats and scarves, holiday carolers, red poinsettias, green mistletoe, twinkling lights on impeccably trimmed trees. Even the dogs are decorated.

LOVE THE COOPERS

Marissa Tomei

But all the cheery Christmas decorations cover up a big, dysfunctional mess: The Coopers are falling apart, in just about every way. Mom Charlotte (Diane Keaton) and dad Sam (John Goodman) are planning to split after 40 years of marriage. Their grown kids (Ed Helms and Olivia Wilde), Charlotte’s younger sister (Marissa Tomei) and her dad (Alan Arkin) all have issues of their own.

There’s also a jaded waitress (Amanda Seyfried), a foul-mouthed urchin granddaughter (Blake Baumgartner), a cop with an identity crisis (Anthony Mackie), a couple of teens working out the sloppy, tongue-twisting kinks of French kissing, a say-anything septuagenarian aunt (June Squibb), and a strapping young soldier (Jake Lacy) who gets roped into the Christmas Eve family reunion as a pretend boyfriend.

And a partridge in a pear tree—no, not really. But it does get very, very crowded, and that’s not even counting the narrator, who turns out to be…well, someone whose name you’ll certainly recognize, in a form you’ll in no way be expecting, in a manner that makes absolutely no sense at all.

LOVE THE COOPERS

Producer-director Jessie Nelson, whose previous projects include the heart-tugging, high-pedigree gloop of I Am Sam, Stepmom and Corrina, Corrina, remains true to form here, with an all-star cast fumbling around in a deep-dish holiday goo of dumb dialogue, silly shtick and artificial sweetness that feels like a concoction created with ingredients ladled from other, far better cinematic Christmas crock pots—a dollop of It’s a Wonderful Life, splashes of Love, Actually, sprinkles of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Snow on snow on snow.

Ed Helms and Alan Arkin sing, a dog gets blamed for a fart he didn’t make and Marissa Tomei hides a brooch in her mouth. There’s mashed potato slinging, Christmas carol mangling, streets full of Santas, gingerbread men in G-string frosting, and a joyous, swirling dance to a Bob Dylan song.

And so much snow. But it never piles up—and like the movie, it never adds up, either, to anything more than a slushy, mushy holiday heap of ho-ho-hokum.

—Neil Pond, Parade Magazine

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Going Badly

Two Oscar winners flounder in sitcom-ism geriatric gloop

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And So It Goes

Starring Michael Keaton & Diane Keaton

Directed by Rob Reiner

PG-13

A paint-by-numbers romantic comedy for the AARP crowd, And So It Goes stars Michael Douglas as a cantankerous Connecticut real estate hotshot, Diane Keaton as New England’s most unconvincing lounge singer, and young Sterlin Jerins (who fled zombies with Brad Pitt in World War Z) as the adorable moppet who brings them all together.

Director Rob Reiner has made some good movies, and even some great ones—This Is Spinal Tap, Misery, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Stand By Me. Measured against cult masterpieces and all-time audience favorites like those, a lot of other movies would have a hard time measuring up. But this sitcom-like blob of sentimental geriatric gloop, alas, doesn’t have a chance.

ASIG_02615.NEFDouglas’ character, Oren Little, is still bitter 10 years after losing his wife to cancer. Now he’s a full-fledged grump and one-man insult factory, shooshing playful kids, muttering ethic slurs to potential clients and pelting stray dogs with his paintball gun. “Do people really let you get away with being you?” asks his next-door neighbor Leah (Keaton), incredulously.

When Oren’s long-estranged adult son shows up, he’s packing a surprise: He’s headed to prison. Can Oren keep his young daughter—the grandchild he never knew existed—until he gets out of the pokey?

ASIG_04670.NEFIf you’ve never seen any other movie or television show, ever, you might wonder where this story is headed. Otherwise, you’ll see every twist, turn, bump and bumble coming long before it gets there, as the new “unwanted” addition to Oren’s life sets him on a fresh, friendlier course—and reignites his romantic spark.

Douglas and Keaton are old pros and they ride out the storm as best they can, but even these two solid Oscar winners can’t put much of a shine on a script full of cheap jokes, lame gags and flat-out embarrassing lines of insultingly dumb dialog.

And they can’t keep director Reiner’s mind out of the gutter. We watch a pooch take a poop, see a little girl react to a dog humping a stuffed animal (“Look Mommy—it’s just like you and Daddy dancing!”), and hear Oren make a crude crack about being confronted with…ahem, genitals…when a little boy changes out of his swimsuit. After a badly botched attempt at lovemaking, Leah rebukes Oren: “I had a dog once who wouldn’t leave my crotch alone, and it was more romantic than this!”

ASIG_03855.NEFFor some people, the pile-on of feel-good mush at the end might divert them enough to think they’ve seen a decent, even uplifting movie. But most will be discerning enough to know they’ve just really just been buried alive by a truckload of artificial sweetener.

In one scene, Oren and his granddaughter discuss a sandwich made of two slices of baloney and one of cheese. That’s actually a pretty good metaphor for this slapped-together attempt at making a quick, no-frills multiplex option for viewers old enough to get senior-citizen discounts.

It’s just that I can’t imagine this baloney, and this cheese, being what anyone wants for a movie meal—at any age.

—Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine

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