Life As We Know It Directed by: Greg Berlanti Cast: Katherine Heigl, Josh Duhamel, Christina Hendricks, Josh Lucas, Melissa McCarthy Running Time: 1 hr 55 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: October 8, 2010
PLOT: After the death of their mutual friends, two mismatched singles are forced to raise a baby together.
WHO'S IT FOR? If you saw and/or still remember the movie Raising Helen you might be able to go for this one. It's definitely aimed for the romantic comedy crowd, but with a touch of drama. Fans of Heigl's rom com stylings and her weepy-eyed turn on Grey's Anatomy will definitely want to tune in for this.
EXPECTATIONS: Imagine The Odd Couple with a romantic undercurrent. Oh, or Three Men and a Baby but with sexual tension. Yeah, it's safe to say I wasn't expecting much from this one, but can you really blame me?
Katherine Heigl as Holly: Heigl is one of those love 'em or hate 'em actresses for most folks. For me? She's beige. She's just so bland, I can't muster up an emotion for her. In this movie, she continues to play the type A control freak who has no time for love in her life because she's a career woman. Still, she fits the role well and I don't know what it is, but I buy her as a nurturing mother. I know she's got a kid of her own, but she does the whole "flustered and unprepared career woman thrown into parenthood" thing pretty well. It's when they throw in the romantic angle that I lose focus. She flirts with Messer uncontrollably the whole time and we're supposed to feign surprise when they roll around in the sack together? It's just a poorly developed character, but Heigl brings out the sweet side every so often to balance it out as best she can. Score: 6
Josh Duhamel as Messer: What to say about Mr. Josh "I cheated on Fergie with a stripper" Duhamel? Sadly, the guy is more memorable as a tabloid headline than he is on the big screen. I mean, sure, if we were rating on looks, the guy would be getting a 10, but sadly, that's not how things work here at The Scorecard Review. Duhamel puts on his best "pretty boy/playboy" face, but the thing is, I'm not too sure if it's acting. He tries to do funny and it's hard to tell if the joke itself isn't getting any laughs or if it's Duhamel. The truly painful part is when he attempts to show some sort of emotion. Since when did squinting one's eyes mean that they were about to cry? I don't know, but that's pretty much the best Duhamel has to offer. Score: 4
Brynn Clagett as Sophie: I know it seems ridiculous to review the acting of a baby, but doesn't it seem equally ridiculous that the baby was the best actor in this movie? Sophie's an important role in the movie and Clagett has the perfect blend of adorable little button and devil spawn sent from the very bowels of hell. I know it doesn't seem like much, but working with child actors can be extremely painful and to actually get what you need from them can be even harder. Still, at the end of the day, every time she started crying, it was devastating to hear so I have to give her credit where credit is due. Well, that and "baby wrangler" isn't listed on IMDb so who else am I going to credit? Score: 8
TALKING: Life As We Know It doesn't have the best dialogue to work with, but every so often there would be a little something that would catch me off guard and make me laugh. Lines like, "It's a nice idea to have a place where you can kick your spouse in the face... ya know, in a controlled setting, where it's okay" may not sound funny when read, but the delivery from the supporting cast is impressive. If only the film had used its supporting cast better. Still, the movie isn't without its clunkers. Most attempts at sentimentality feel like they were ripped from the covers of Hallmark cards. But then again as the Facts of Life theme song taught us, you take the good and you take the bad. Score: 6
SIGHTS: Um... since it's a movie, it takes advantage of the sense of sight. There's really not much more to be said about this. The setting is very bourgie suburbia so there's nothing too memorable about it. I mean, I remember that the house was really nice, but other than that, there's nothing else that pops out. Hell, for the house alone I'd give it a 6. Oh, and one last thing, if we could do without the poop jokes (we get it, babies poop! Didn't you ever read that book?) that would just be great. Score: 6
SOUNDS: The music in the movie works. It's light and airy when it needs to be, but when addressing the more emotional scenes, some of the tracks sound like they're stolen directly from some emo teenager's vinyl collection. Luckily, this doesn't happen too often, but just consider yourself warned about the mopey, self-deprecating music that Life As We Know It has to offer. Score: 7
BEST SCENE: Holly and Messer getting wasted and watching the Wiggles. It'd probably be depressing if it wasn't so damn relatable. Well, maybe not the Wiggles, but you know what I mean.
ENDING: It ends with a fairly predictable "twist" on the cliche ending. It's a happy ending of sorts, but I couldn't help thinking, "man, that baby is going to be screwed up when she gets older."
QUESTIONS: Why did they waste Jean Smart? Why was Sookie from Gilmore Girls the only one with a bad Southern accent? Ugh, my head hurts from thinking about all the minor flaws.
REWATCHABILITY: Probably not, but not for lack of trying.
Life As We Know It is one of those movies that I can honestly say I never would have paid money to see if it weren't for this job. The combination of Raising Helen and The Back-Up Plan, which is pretty much what this movie is, isn't something that usually appeals to me.
That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by Life As We Know It. Sure, it's not taking home any Oscars or anything, but for a distraction it wasn't half bad. There were times were it was overly dramatic to the point of boredom, but it was offset by a few moments of genuine humor.
Its biggest fault is its use of characters. Holly had the ability to be a compelling female lead, but instead Berlanti relegates her to the category of "career woman who's too busy to think about having a baby, but feels like something is missing in her life." There are moments when we see the character break out of that shell, but unfortunately, they are few and far between. As for Messer, the womanizing frat boy in a grown man's body thing is beyond saving. Duhamel works in the role, but only because I'm not too sure how much he's acting.
In the end, Life As We Know It is not without its problems, but then again, what life isn't? Instead, enjoy it for what it is and just go along for the ride.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10