"Life as We Know It" Movie Review

10/29/2010 Posted by Admin

"Life as We Know It"

Movie Review

Directed by Greg Berlanti, Written by Ian Deitchman and Kristin Rusk Robinson, Rated PG-13, 114-minutes

By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz

There’s a tinge of irony in Katherine Heigel’s performance in "Life as We Know It." As she once again plays the shrewish role she so publicly claims she despises, the jumbled script awards her time to crack a smile or two. In these moments, when she puts fun over business, the film almost reaches enjoyable levels, which is usually where things change for the worse.

Never really allowing the audience to enjoy the chemistry between stars Heigel and Josh Duhamel, the film parades its formulaic plot points across the screen with a dutiful urgency, rattling off one after another in the film’s two-hour running time. Like Katherine’s character, it never allots the time for actual romance, but, hey, isn’t that part of the plan?

"Life as We Know It" is another film in a long line of opposites-attract romantic comedies. Holly (Heigle), an uptight business woman, meets Josh (Duhamel), a fun-loving womanizer, on a blind date. The date never even makes it to the restaurant, but the two remain in a platonic relationship by proxy thanks to some mutual best friends. However (*spoiler alert*), when those friends die in a car accident, their hate is put to the test when the deceased names them legal guardians over their orphaned child Sophie.

Out of respect for their friends’ wishes, the two attempt to put their differences aside to care for the child. Eventually, as you can guess, their hostility turns to affection, then hostility, and finally to affection again.

It’s not such a bad premise for a romantic comedy. Two people destined to be together despite adversity. People respond favorably to this formula--hence, why these films are still around. But where the film missteps is in the amount of adversity they face and the array of cliché subplots the film creates for them. First, it’s each other, then the baby, then their work, then each other, then love and then each other. The constant break-up and make-up routines grow tiresome by the film’s ending.

Writers Ian Deitchman and Kristin Rusk Robinson shoehorn every cliché in the book to fill up screen time when the film works best when the stars are just enjoying each other's company. That’s not to say the film doesn’t need conflict, but it takes so long for these two to get together, the audience is far too frustrated at this point for any conclusion to be satisfactory. Things should end a half-hour earlier than they do, but I guess the world needed another film where someone brings their disruptive kid to work or another scene where a desperate lover rushes through an airport.

Grade:  C-

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