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Life as We Know It

Life as We Know It : A Surprising Delight

  • Josh DuhamelKatherine Heigl
  • Comedy
  • Greg Berlanti
reviewed by
Haisam Abu-Samra
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Life as We Know It : A Surprising Delight

How do you lock two
people who can’t stand the sight of each other into the same house? You give
them a baby. Life as We Know It
didn’t look all promising; it seemed like yet another cutesy Katherine Heigl
vehicle where she runs around annoyed and uptight, and then eventually loosens
up thanks to her buffoon-like male co-star. The film comfortably fits in with her body of work, but it also defies expectations and is a cut above the usual heart-warming
rom-com.

Life as We Know It is like an oestrogen version of Big
Daddy
. Holly’s (Heigl) best friend and husband die in a car accident, leaving
behind their one-year-old daughter Sophie. Holly finds out that she’s the baby’s legal
guardian, but with a small catch: she has to share the baby’s custody with Eric
(Duhamel), the aging frat boy that her friends had once disastrously tried to set her up with.

At first, both Holly and Eric react resentfully to their sudden
guardianship of the baby, but then they begrudgingly put their differences
aside for Sophie’s sake. The days go by and the tension escalates. Both develop feelings
for each other (surprise, surprise), but are unwilling to confront them, not to
mention that their respective careers are now suffering because of their parenting
responsibilities.

The film’s script is occasionally sharp with a witty dialogue that is uncharacteristic
for the genre. In one scene, Duhamel has to sing a lullaby to put the baby to
sleep, and he decides to sing Creep
by Radiohead. Perhaps the song has been around long enough to be considered a
classic, but these few moments of edginess push the film outside the standard
and predictable rom-com mould.     

Director Berlanti seems to have been aware of the leads’ limited acting
range, as he managed to use that to the film’s advantage. Heigl and Duhamel probably
won’t receive any awards for their acting, but they capably sell their
characters and give balanced performances. That is until the final scene where the
film falls apart and harkens back to generic rom-com tropes by closing with a
predictable airport terminal finale. Why are romantic comedies fixated on
airport terminals?

Life as We Know It is a charming 90-minute-long romantic comedy shoved into an uneven,
two-hour long film; sometimes loathsome, sometimes funny and sometimes heart-warming.

Like This? Try

The Ugly Truth, 27 Dresses, Knocked Up

360 Tip

The part of Sophie, the baby girl, was played by triplets.

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