Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Katherine Heigl, Josh Duhamel, Josh Lucas, Alexis Clagett, Brynn Clagett, Brooke Clagett, Hayes MacArthur, Christina Hendricks, Sarah Burns, Jessica St. Clair, Brooke Liddell, Kiley Liddell, Britt Flatmo, Rob Huebel, Melissa McCarthy, DeRay Davis, Kumail Nanjiani, Andrew Daly, Bill Brochtrup, Will Sasso, Majandra Delfino
Written by: Ian Deitchman, Kristin Rusk Robinson
Directed by: Greg Berlanti
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual material, language and some drug content
Running Time: 113
Date: 10/02/2010
IMDB

Life as We Know It (2010)

1 Star (out of 4)

Baby Shove

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Here's a question for you. If Katherine Heigl makes terrible movies and they keep making money, what should the studios do? Should they admit that they've made some terrible movies and try to do something good? Or should they keep on making deliberately bad movies because those are the ones that seem to sell? At this point we can only believe the latter, as cynical as that sounds. It's unlikely that anyone actually tried to make Life as We Know It into anything other than a piece of junk.

Following on the heels of her equally bad 27 Dresses and The Ugly Truth, Heigl stars as yet another annoying (unfunny) control freak, Holly Berenson. She spends a lot of time with her best friend, Allison (Christina Hendricks), who is married to Peter (Hayes MacArthur), with a cute baby daughter, Sophie. Unfortunately, Peter has a best friend, too, the happy-go-lucky chick magnet Messer (Josh Duhamel). Holly and Messer are fixed up on a date, which ends in disaster, and are subsequently forced to endure one another at get-togethers. But of course, anyone who fights like this is destined to be a couple. So when Allison and Peter are unexpectedly killed in a car accident, it comes out that Holly and Messer are to be Sophie's legal guardians.

What a setup. In more skilled hands, Hawks... or Lubitsch, say, this actually may have inspired a terrific film. Instead, director Greg Berlanti relies on the usual collection of poo jokes, spattered food jokes, musical montages, dramatic interludes, and a cast of "comical" supporting characters -- some of whom manage to provide the film's two or three chuckles, and all of whom are funnier than the two leads. But beyond that, it seems clear that nobody involved had any idea of what it might be like to actually raise a child in real life; it takes place in a movie world where everything happens for the sake of the plot, rather than springing organically from well-drawn characters. This is just a waste of time, but it will probably make a nice chunk of change, thereby inspiring the next awful movie.

Warner Home Video has released a DVD/digital copy/Blu-Ray combo pack, with three short featurettes. One about raising babies, and one is focused on Heigl. The third one, about how Josh Duhamel bonded with the triplicate girls who combine to play Sophie in the movie; if he wasn't already a babe magnet, any woman who sees this is going to want his phone number immediately. We also get some deleted scenes.

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