Michelle (Roberts) and Allen (Bracey) are in a relationship. They decide to invite their parents to finally meet about marriage. Turns out, the parents already know one another well, which leads to some differing opinions about marriage.
If you were to close your eyes during Marc Jacobs’ “Maybe I Do,” you’d swear you were sitting in front of a high school play. None of the dialogue sounds natural, as each line spoken by the characters lacks the spontaneity of thought. Every speech sounds as if it were painstakingly memorized with each inflection planned and every pause anticipated. At times, I felt as if I should be preparing a convincing “Good job!” to deliver to the amateur actors I was listening, commending them on remembering their lines, satisfied they would do so, having no expectations of seeing anything resembling a performance.
What’s so absolutely shocking about “Do” is that its cast consists of not overearnest amateurs but veteran actors who, I thought, could give good performances in their sleep. Alas, this proves to be not the case as Richard Gere and Diane Keaton are Howard and Grace respectively, a couple who have grown apart. Sam (William H. Macy) and Monica (Susan Sarandon) are also long-time marrieds who are dealing with similar problems and before you know it, all four begin the stray; Howard into Monica’s arms, Sam into Grace’s. Keep in mind, these couples do not know each other but their children, Allen and Michelle (Luke Bracey and Emma Roberts) do and wouldn’t you know it, they arrange a dinner for their parents to meet.
The premise, had it been handled with a more light-hearted approach – think Cary Grant, Irene Dune, William Powell and Myrna Loy with a screwball sensibility – might have worked. However, Jacobs, making his feature film debut, having cut his teeth writing half-hour sitcoms – does not have the necessary touch to pull this off. Everyone is trying too hard, forcing their lines, trying to will into being a whimsical tone that refuses to emerge.
“Do” ends up proving that even the combined talent of a powerhouse cast cannot overcome a faulty script or tepid direction. It’s certainly not for lack of trying – were Gere, Keaton, Macy and Sarandon tapdancing with the same fervor with which they are trying to bring this script to life, their feet would be on fire. In the end, the film is not so much an entertainment but a curiosity, a production seemingly with all the right elements, but which happens to fail spectacularly. Think of it as the cinematic equivalent of a car accident, though I advise that you not slow down to gawk.