February 12, 2007 12:00 PM

Diane Keaton, Mandy Moore, Gabriel Macht, Tom Everett Scott



Think that Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep’s Oscar nods prove Hollywood finally respects its older actresses? Keaton’s Because offers a persuasive rebuttal. As Daphne, a meddling mom desperate to marry off her youngest daughter, Milly (Moore), she is stuck pratfalling over couches, getting cake smashed in her face and parading around in granny underwear.

In this moms-are-from-Mars-daughters-are-from-Venus retread, Daphne secretly places an online personal ad for Milly and screens potential suitors. Unaware of her mother’s machinations, Milly falls for both a Daphne-approved controlling architect (Scott) and, to Mom’s chagrin, a musician (Macht). Keaton rises above it all thanks to her charm and still-infectious laugh (I bet she could wring chuckles out of a Police Academy film). Moore, however, is ill-served by a two-note script that bounces her between serenity and shrill hysterics. At one point, Milly laments, “I wish I could find a less clichéd word for ‘sorry.'” Yeah, so do we. (PG-13)


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