The Aisle Steat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape
Send this page to Twitter!  

THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


Life as We Know It

Life as We Know It is two clichéd movies in one. It is a Learing To Be a Parent Comedy, in which immature characters must suddenly deal with the responsibilities of a baby. In this case, those people are Holly Berenson (Katherine Heigl) and Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel). When their mutual friends die in a car accident, they are named as guardians of the couple's infant daughter. Upon the recommendation of a lawyer and a child services worker, they move into the deceased couple's home to care for the little girl. It is here that they go through motions that will be familiar to anyone who's ever seen Three Men and a Baby, Baby Boom, The Pacifier, Daddy Day Care, My Baby's Daddy or any of the other hundred or so Learning To Be a Parent Comedies that Hollywood has unleashed over the years. Holly and Messer (he only goes by his last name) discover that babies puke. They get covered in food the child throws. They freak out over having to change a poopy diaper. They eventually decide that they like having a kid. You know the drill. So does Heigl. She already made this movie, much more effectively, under the title Knocked Up.

Life as We Know It is also a Bickering Couple Movie. Holly and Eric's friends set them up on a blind date several years ago. It was a disaster, and they've hated each other ever since. Most of the movie is spent with them bickering back and forth, while trying to deny that they are, of course, falling deeply in love. They date other people; in Holly's case, it's a pediatrician played by Josh Lucas, while in Messer's case, it's (naturally) any cheap floozy he can pick up. Life as We Know It hits all the beats you've seen in Leap Year, The Bounty Hunter, The Proposal, Fool's Gold, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, The Ugly Truth (yet another Heigl flick) and dozens of other Bickering Couple Movies. Films in this genre often have scenes near the end that are set in airports, with one character trying to stop the other before he/she runs off. Yes, that scene is accounted for here as well.

There isn't really much else to say about this movie. You will not find a single thing that hasn't been done to death before. Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel follow the overall trend of actively avoiding originality by playing their roles the same way they play all their roles; she's uptight and ordered, he's a fun-loving good ol' boy. Life as We Know It isn't awful. It's certainly watchable, but that's hardly an endorsement. When the entire movie is predictable, clichéd, and routine, what's the point in going out to see it? Hint: there is none.

( out of four)

Blu-Ray Features:

Life as We Know It will be released on DVD or in a DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack on February 8. The special features are:

"A Survival Guide to Instant Parenting" - In this approximately 7-minute segment, the cast members dispense often-sarcastic parenting advice. A few real tips make their way in as well, but nothing that any parent wouldn't already know.

"Katherine Heigl: Becoming the Best Mom Ever" - Here, the actress talks about her character becoming a parent abruptly. Twice, Heigl mentions that she herself adopted an infant just days before shooting of the film commenced, therefore helping her to identify with Holly. Amazingly, though, the segment doesn't follow through on this tidbit. I wish it had; that would have been enlightening.

"Josh Duhamel: The Triplet Tamer" - This segment informs us that Duhamel spent time getting to know the triplets who play the infant prior to filming (making us wonder why Heigl didn't). There's plenty of footage of him goofing around with them. The triplets' mother repeatedly tells us what a good guy he is. I think this piece was created in the overly cutesy spirit of the movie itself. It will either make you say awwww or make you roll your eyes.

Deleted Scenes - Somewhat surprisingly, there's nearly 15 minutes of excised footage. Some improvisations between the supporting cast members land with a thud, but other bits are unexpectedly strong. There's a sequence with Holly and Messer trying to figure out how to get the baby home from the hospital without a car seat that is funnier and sharper than anything that actually made the final cut. A scene with Heigl, another mother, and a stroller is also good.

Life as We Know It has, as you would expect, good sound and picture quality on Blu-Ray. A digital copy of the movie is also included in the combo pack.

Life as We Know It is rated PG-13 for sexual material, language and some drug content. The running time is 1 hour and 53 minutes.