While Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton get star billing, Connecticut's scenic shoreline quickly becomes the center of attention in Rob Reiner's new romantic comedy -- at least for local residents. Filmed in part at Lake Compounce in Bristol, as well as in Bridgeport, Greenwich, Southport and Black Rock (which is thanked in the credits), it revolves around an about-to-retire real estate salesman who avidly reads the Fairfield Citizen newspaper.
While grumpy, misanthropic widower Oren Little (Douglas) is desperately trying to unload his palatial, overpriced mansion in Fairfield and retire to Vermont, he finds himself saddled with caring for a 10-year-old granddaughter, Sarah (Sterling Jerins) he never knew he had because his estranged, ex-junkie son, Luke (Scott Shepherd), has been sent to prison for nine months.
Help comes from Leah (Keaton), the wannabe lounge singer who lives next door. She bursts into tears whenever she sings love ballads because they remind her of her late husband. And you can easily predict where the plot goes from there.
Doing his best to create charm from Oren's smug, unrepentant obnoxious behavior, Douglas basically reprises his "Las Vegas" (2013) performance, while Keaton revives her customary neuroticism from "Something's Gotta Give" (2003). Working from a bland, formulaic script by Mark Andrus (co-writer of "As Good As It Gets"), veteran director Reiner ("The Bucket List," "When Harry Met Sally") elicits strong performances from his ensemble, particularly young Jerins, who underplays effectively.
Obviously drawing inspiration from coping with Cameron, his own real-life jailed son, Douglas' personal pain is palpable -- and, as he ages, he looks more and more like his father, Kirk. Keaton's quavery crooning is pleasant, as Reiner accompanies her on the piano when they audition for restaurateur Frankie Valli. As Oren's outspoken co-worker, Frances Sternhagen steals every scene she's in -- it's too bad there are so few.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "And So It Goes" is an engaging, yet forgettable 5. Aimed at a senior-citizen audience, it should enjoy a long life as a DVD.