INTERN’S VIEW: “Life As We Know It” Abomination Unfolds Before Your Eyes
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 / *****
[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.]