So, I was beginning to feel like the grumpy, old bastard of the site. Crawling out from under the bridge to troll about shitty kids’ movies, even though they completely deserved it. Still, I felt bad about not making it past a 3 out of 5 on the past few movies. Now, I figured Life As We Know It wouldn’t be a game changer, keeping tradition with my snarky, critical reviews. Luckily for me (and you, of course!), this movie surprised me with some originality, heart and charm. Something I haven’t seen out of a movie in a while.
Now, the plot seems to have a few cues from an older movie called Raising Waylon, but you know what? I put aside my prejudice for Repo Men vs REPO!, so I’m going to avoid drudging that up. The story goes like this, a couple tries to set up their respective best friends: Messer (Josh Duhamel), the sloppy womanizer and Holly (Katherine Heigl), the organized business owner. As you can imagine, things don’t work out the first time, and they grow to despise each other. Then begins the first of, probably, hundreds of montages in this movie. Honestly, I haven’t seen so many montages in one movie. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing, it helps to speed up the relationships and story lines, but seriously. It’s like Rocky I-V combined into a romantic comedy. Anyway, the lovely couple from the beginning dies in a strangely vague car crash. They really don’t talk much about how the couple dies, I mean, I know it’s not the point of the flick, but it’s covered up like a CIA operation. Suspicious, if you ask me. So, the “dead” couple leave Messer and Holly in custody of their child, Sophie (Alexis/Brynn/Brooke Clagett), instead of a relative or other guardian. Zing! Guess what?…..Antics ensue. That’s right.
As I’m sure you’ve all guessed, things become more complicated between Messer and Holly as they explore their feelings for each other in their grief. Now, even though I knew the entire plot from the trailers (damn you, shitty trailers!), what was strange was the fact that it still held my interest. Very rarely do I not get bored with something after I know what’s going to happen, so, I was moderately shocked to see that I was enjoying my time in this film.
I think one of the best surprises in this movie was the chemistry between Heigl and Duhamel. I figured watching them together would be as awkward as an MTV dating show, but I was able to see them as a couple and believe their performances. Now, just because Heigl and Duhamel put on their big-boy acting pants, doesn’t mean that the rest of the cast brought their A game. Most of the side characters are just stereotypical representations of different marriage archetypes: the oblivious man and the cheating wife, the weakling husband and the controlling wife, and now introducing, the gay couple! None of these characters really stood out from the background, although Melissa McCarthy as the evil, controlling wife, did bring more laughs than your average bear.
When it comes to the technical aspects of the movie, don’t expect anything fancy. Don’t misunderstand me, this is a romantic comedy. Forty-five seconds after they announce the death of the Sophie’s parents, they’re cracking jokes. So, the only thing outside of the performances that was actually notable was the music. Now, I thought they actually did a fantastic job until the end. As most modern movies, they used popular songs throughout the film, but they seemed to fit and blend well with the story, instead of taking you out of the film and having you think, “God, I love/hate this song!”. It was easy to relax and fall into the story of the movie and the music assisted that beautifully, until the end. Like all good things, the good use of music came to an end, making awkward mixes with scenes and taking you out of the movie.
Now, this movie definitely has it’s flaws, believe me. First of all, it’s predictable. Like an episode of Dora the Explorer, you know exactly where it’s going and how it’ll end. Not to mention, Swiper isn’t going to swipe shit. My second problem was that it completely drags for the last forty-five minutes of the movie. Seriously, with the ending being blindingly obvious, it’s painful to sit through forty five minutes of “When are they going to kiss and make up?!” Third, and this really irks me, they gave 90% of the big laughs away in the trailer. So, each time I saw the scene set up, I thought, ” Oh, here comes that moment from the commercials.” That really killed some of the movie for me, although the audience was dying of laughter. Maybe they have the innocent, child-like ability to see everything fresh and unspoiled, but I’m not that lucky, so it jaded me on a few of their big moments.
All in all, I could see past the flaws of this movie. It really did have heart and you felt attached to the characters by the end of the movie. For the first time in a while, I felt like I’d watched something that wasn’t a waste of life. Even though you know where it’s going, Life As We Know It is an entertaining movie that is easily relatable for guys and gals. Just a side note for the guys – if you wear hockey jerseys, act tough, think it’s girly to feel, have a mullet, or hate the thought of kids – just take your girlfriend to see the new Resident Evil movie. Her resenting you for it will be easier than you watching a movie that has those yucky feelings.
I give Life As We Know It 4 “Dramatic Airport Chases” out of 5