- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 1, 2007

If “Because I Said So” were a magazine, it would fall somewhere between mom’s Redbook and daughter’s Cosmo, with big, vibrant, full-color pages depicting gorgeous gamins, perfect pastries, home decor, some parenting tips, and (of course) an abundant serving of sex talk and relationship advice.

Yes, it’s a chick flick, and with core protagonists spanning in age from Mandy Moore to Diane Keaton, it’s the kind that a whole range of women should be able to appreciate.

There may be bits that no one’s interested in — Miss Keaton preaching the virtues of “granny underwear” while wearing said garment, for starters. But that’s the nature of the genre, which the product decidedly does not transcend.

No, “Because” isn’t super intelligent. But it manages to cover all the topics it’s supposed to and even succeeds in making us just a little googly eyed over the hunky main love interest. It’s fun, and you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging modestly.

The package was put together by some folks who know the niche well: director Michael Lehmann (“The Truth About Cats and Dogs,” “Heathers”) and screenwriters Karen Leigh Hopkins and Jessie Nelson (who collaborated on — sniff, sniff — “Stepmom”).

Their story opens with Daphne Wilder (Miss Keaton) witnessing her eldest daughter Maggie’s (“Gilmore Girls’ ” Lauren Graham) wedding. Then her middle girl, Mae’s (“Coyote Ugly” star Piper Perabo).

Her youngest, the beautiful Milly (recording artist and “Saved!” actress Mandy Moore), is now the last woman standing, and mom’s mission is to marry her off, too; Daphne doesn’t want her to end up alone like herself. After posting an ad on the Internet, she identifies several potential matches for her daughter and interviews them in a lounge — a scene sure to make veterans of online dating cringe.

Daphne strikes out until No. 17, a dashing architect named Jason (Tom Everett Scott). Handsome and well-to-do (and rather dry), he’s a mother’s dream.

Since Milly also runs a blossoming catering business, Daphne slips Jason her daughter’s business card and hopes for the best, planning to secretly stay in touch with him to monitor his progress.

Unfortunately, good-looking guitarist Johnny (Gabriel Macht) overhears Daphne’s public discussions and also wants a shot with Milly. Mom won’t have it — he’ll only break her heart — but the cutie manages to snag one of Milly’s cards anyway.

Things will get hot in the kitchen for the young culinary artist, with two attractive yet very different men pursuing her, and mom meddling every chance she gets.

In the end, everyone will learn some valuable life’s lessons like that collapsed souffles are a bad omen.

The actresses and actors do fine with their relatively fluffy (and in Miss Keaton’s case, melodramatic) roles, and Miss Moore is so darn lovely she’s hard to take your eyes off.

Ultimately, there’s not a lot of substance to “Because I Said So, ” but who said chick flicks have to be more than nice diversions with lots of pretty pictures? And did I mention there are cakes? Mmm, cake.

**

TITLE: “Because I Said So”

RATING: PG-13 (for mature themes, sexually suggestive dialogue and partial nudity)

CREDITS: Directed by Michael Lehmann. Screenplay by Karen Leigh Hopkins and Jessie Nelson.

RUNNING TIME:102 minutes

WEB SITE: www.becauseisaidsomovie.com

MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS

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