INTERN’S VIEW: “Life As We Know It” Abomination Unfolds Before Your Eyes


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by Philip Benais

Life As We Know It: Directed By Greg Berlanti; Starring Katherine Heigl, Josh Duhamel, Josh Lucas, Christina Hendricks and Jean Smart.

Quite an experience to see an abomination unfold before your eyes isn’t it? That’s what it is to see Life As We Know It. It would be quite generous to call this a film in the traditional sense; at best it’s a Hallmark montage with delusions of grandeur and at worst it’s like getting pissed on without the courtesy to call it rain. With this atrocity, Katherine Heigl has further cemented herself as the same two dimensional shrew that she plays in every film she’s in, and Josh Duhamel? Let me put it this way; if Michael Bay’s Transformers series is the biggest picture you’ve ever been in, I feel sorry for you, and it certainly won’t be helped when you’re in a film that very nearly eclipses the very worst this year has offered us. I’d rather watch Furry Vengeance on a loop. I’d rather sit in a theater with a bunch of tweens and try to enjoy the latest Twilight film, just as long as I NEVER have to hear or see anything related to this disaster again. It’s the equivalent of being browbeaten by an assortment of cliches and hopeless writing for two hours. I face palmed through most of this movie and now, scars and all, I’m here to tell you why NOT to see it.

The story (in the loosest sense of that word) follows the exploits of Holly Berenson and Eric Messer, as played by the aforementioned Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel, in possibly one of the worst on screen pairings since…well any one of Katherine Heigl’s OTHER movies besides Knocked Up. Let me guess, Heigl plays an over obsessed work driven harpy that I wouldn’t associate with even if someone put a gun to my head and Duhamel is the hunky ladies man who grows to love and appreciate Heigl even though it defies all logic. Ultimately they realize that they need to be together for the kid that their friends dumped on them and they live happily ever after. The sad part is I just described this whole movie in that cynical synopsis, it’s no joke.

Katherine Heigl’s character worked in Knocked Up because of Seth Rogen as the unconventional male lead and Judd Apatow, who for all intents and purposes is more talented than Greg Berlanti. With all these movies that star Heigl and try to milk the cash cow again and again I have to wonder, can Katherine Heigl do ANYTHING ELSE, or is this her shtick from now on? Her antics have aged about as well as Carrot Top’s so if this IS all she can do, consider me forever uninterested. As for Duhamel, it really is hard to critique anything constructively considering he has the personality and charisma of petrified wood. His performance is yet another trope that always plays out in these sorts of films, to the point where you’d think scientists would have made a formula for how to dish out this lowest common denominator shit.

To say this film is a little bland is like saying that Charles Manson was a little bit of a murderer; it’s a drastic understatement. Half the time the jokes die in mid set up because of the piss poor timing, so you’re left with guessing all the cliches before they play out…and the montages, dear lord in heaven the montages. If you can only say one thing definitively about this film, it’s that you will HATE montages after this, even more than you might have before…you know why? It’s because this film is 70% montage. I don’t care if was to cut costs or filming time, this needs to end. Exactly the way the arbitrary third act break up cliche needs to end; everyone knows that the leads will get together in the end; you could have just seen the trailer and figured that out, but for some reason these films always delay the inevitable with boring cookie cutter drama sections. At least in a good rom-com like Knocked Up, the jokes are fresh and the characters are likable in one way or another. Hell, even Heigl was good in Knocked Up and that’s because her character was newer and more fleshed out, whereas now it’s become an overexploited stereotype.

Maybe I’m not supposed to like a film like this; I hardly think I’m the target audience for this type of film, especially since I’m a huge action film aficionado and those are the polar opposite of films like Life As We Know It. What doesn’t seem normal to me is that this film is loaded with aggravating set ups, supporting characters that make you wanna claw your eyes out and writing so bad it might actually hurt you physically. The worst of it all was that this film was APPLAUDED; so great films like The Social Network and Inception get no audience reaction, but a rom-com that I nearly left within the first fifteen minutes does? It makes no sense, but I think I have a pretty good idea why the baby is always crying in this movie; it’s not because it needs to for plot convenience or it’s character. The baby’s crying because it’s aware that it has a major part in this crap. If you still want to see this movie, all I can say is what the people who made this would most likely say: ‘Welcome to Rom-Com Hell. Heigl and Duhamel will be your personal demons for the next two hours; have a rotten time and go f@*k yourself.’

Rating: 1/2 / *****

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: Philip Benais is our newest Intern, a 16-year old student at Big Picture High School in SeaTac.

Read more of his work here.]

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Comments

12 Responses to “INTERN’S VIEW: “Life As We Know It” Abomination Unfolds Before Your Eyes”
  1. jan says:

    Philip: Haven’t or won’t see this movie, but i need to know…..does your mother let you talk like that at home? , f’-words and all?

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  2. Philip Benais says:

    Hey Jan,

    That was more for dramatic effect than anything else; I suppose you could blame it on me watching too many internet reviewers but normally I keep a decorum of decency. If that offended you I apologize and I’ll keep it in mind for future reviews.

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  3. Tree Frog Ted says:

    Apparently you thought it sucked. Save the drama for your mama. Just say it like you mean it. “it sucked” and save us the long winded blah, blah, blah.

    Abomination? Christ!,(pardon the pun), when I saw that word I thought it was some sort of southern Bible Thumpin’ rehtoric. Maybe there would ‘serpants’ and such.

    Oh well, I read the whole thing, so I give you credit for piqueing my interest.

    Love, Peace, Out…….TFT

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  4. Shari says:

    Philip, let me start off first by saying that I think the two most important inventions of the modern era are margaritas in a box and the acronym WTF. But there’s some stuff in both of the previous comments that resonate with me also. While I routinely laugh out loud at The Stranger (and have for as long as it’s been in print), some of what I’ve read in your work suggests you might have it in your to set your sights higher (Andrew O’Hehir, for example). One of cruel injustices of life is that writers at 16 have to sound like they’re 37 and 37 year olds have to sound 16. Beyond that you can do what you want because nobody cares what you think when you get any older than that. Hang in there.

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  5. John Elliott says:

    Besides being way too long of an article which seemed to say nothing. You ended it with a curse word! What’s up with that. Must literature in today’s environment always have to have cursing in it. It really does take away from the meaning of the whole thing.

    And I agree. Does your mother let you speak to her like that!

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  6. Philip Benais says:

    John,

    I take it your proud of yourself for spewing out an ad hominem that offers nothing constructive, but must you REALLY never use a question mark? It becomes a little disorienting to not know what’s a sentence and what’s a half formed thought. Well at least you don’t shed every bit of credibility you have by honestly naming yourself Tree Frog Ted, but resorting to ‘does your mother let you talk that’ doesn’t really help either. I’m sorry I don’t appeal to your narrow minded view of what a film critic should be but I’m not exactly hearing a way to make it better either. I do believe I’ve addressed the entirety of the problems with this horrible film but I guess if I just said ‘it sucked’ and moved on I might win your approval, right? Yeah, it was a flub to curse but I had no idea I’d incur the wrath of the Decency Brigade. Excuse me for breathing the wrong way.

    To answer your question, no I don’t talk to my mother that way, I happen to love her. If you honestly have a problem with my work (which it seems you do) I’ve got three words; DON’T READ IT, so you can spare me the time to write this rebuttal that you probably won’t get anyways…what’s up with THAT?

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  7. feral dog says:

    Phil,
    Don`t get caught up in rebuttals kid, you`re playing right into `em,(the critics) You are going to find yourself writing more rebuttals and trying to defend yourself due to pissing matches than anything.
    Just thicken up your skin and let it roll off. You will learn to pick your battles and when to just let it go.. Just ask yourself, is it worth it? Most times you`ll tell yourself no.
    This advice is free and worth what it is to ya. I`m sure your ma is very proud of ya.

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  8. Julie says:

    Can anyone explain what this has to with Burien?

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  9. Suzanne says:

    This review is hilarious – the immaturity of the reviewer is more on display than the content of the film. Clearly life, real life, has yet to be experienced by this young man and, clearly, being crude rather than constructive must be the trend among his peers. Congratulations on landing the review but you might want to really understand what film criticism is before writing another.

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