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Life As We Know It (2010) Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 February 2011
ImageI know I sound like a broken record, but it is all too true of today’s films.  This is another classic example of predictable and dull.  “Life As We Know It” is completely unoriginal.  In fact, it comes across as such that you sit the entirety of the film thinking, “Surely I have seen this before.”

Usually there is some saving grace in a film like this, but alas I could find none here.  Normally the actors save the film for the audience, but here, the two primary actors are cliché and seem a bit awkward, despite the fact that they seem veterans of this genre.  Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel deliver underwhelming and uninspiring performances.  Don’t blame the actors for this one.  The script and directing is horrendous.

The script plays like notes on a piano; one right after another, falling in a melodic line.  However, I am hesitant to say that is how the film reads.  The sequences of events is all too familiar, but in this particular case, the sequence of events leave much to be desired.

This is the classic story of two adults (I use that term loosely) who have mutual friends.  While they despise each other, they love their mutual friends and their newborn daughter.  After a very prolonged introduction to their lives, their mutual friends perish in a car accident, or so were told.  What is to happen to the one year-old baby girl.  Turns out they leave the baby to their mutual friends, Holly and Messer.  Ah, but the twist, supposedly, is that they never told Holly and Messer that they were in the will as the next guardians.  Ok, so that probably isn’t the best thing to do, but hey, they are the godparents and there are no other relatives.  Is it really that big of a shock?

Holly and Messer move into their friends’ house and begin to take care of the girl.  Meanwhile they are trying to decide whether or not they can handle it or if they even want to.  Messer is a typical Hollywood male who wants to be free from this burden and return to his life of women and basketball games.  Holly, who doesn’t stray one inch from the character portrayed by Heigl in “The Ugly Truth,” is controlling and guilt’s herself into wanting to take care of the baby.
Of course, despite Holly and Messer’s absolute hatred for each other, which stems from one bad blind date three years earlier, they begin to fall in love.  How cliché.  Probably is bound to happen when you live like a married couple with a child under one roof.  But then what should tear them apart?  Oh, how about a job offer on the other side of the country.

Amidst all this, there is a social worker making unexpected visits, at what just so happens to also be the worst timing, in order to determine whether Holly and Messer are fit to remain the guardians of this child.  First she shows up the one time that Holly gets drunk at home.  Then she shows up the morning after Holly and Messer sleep together and make pot brownies.  And finally she shows up the moment Messer takes off for Phoenix.  A bit too forced if you ask me.  On top of her unexpected visits, the case worker cannot make up her mind on what she wants out of Holly and Messer.  One time it is that they didn’t look comfortable. Then it is they complicated matters by sleeping together. Then it is crying because Holly and Messer aren’t together.  My head spins just thinking about it.

The just of it is, this film offers nothing new, no powerful performances and no laughs.  In addition, for its simplistic nature, it still runs nearly two hours.  Ouch!

It appears that Warner has infused “Life As We Know It” with the typical romantic comedy video transfer.  The image is endowed with warm fleshtones and colors, a baked contrast level, above average detail and suitable black levels.  However, as standard as this image is for the genre, it is never really eye pleasing to me.  The colors are far too oversaturated and fleshtones look like everyone just stepped out of a tanning salon.  The black levels result in puddles with no delineation.  Take a look at the sequence in with Heigl is lying on the bed wearing her black pants.  You can’t tell the difference between the waist and either leg.  It is just one blob.  Details are typical, but far from truly satisfactory.  Softness rears its ugly head numerous times.  Artifacting in numerous forms is present here and there throughout the film.  While ringing and crush are minimal and will never be spotted by most audience members, they are there if you care to look.  Don’t get me wrong.  The image is very watchable.  It is just a bit overdone for my tastes.

The audio quality ranks right there with the video quality.  It lands smack dab in the middle of the romantic comedy genre.  There is absolutely nothing memorable about this track.  The lossless 5.1 track is front heavy, but stable.  The surround channels are absent for nearly the entirety of this film.   When they are present they are so obscure that you will never remember them being there in the first place.  While they shouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb, they should provide a memorable audio experience.  They don’t.  A sense of immersion is a joke and enveloping is virtually nonexistent.  The LFE is absent throughout the film, as to be expected.  Dialogue is anchored in the center channel and is perfectly intelligible.  There isn’t much in terms of stereo separation, but it is suitable for the film.  In the end you be left never giving the audio track a second thought, for better or worse.

As is typical, not much has gone into the special features of this title.  There are a dozen or so deleted scenes.  Josh Duhamel supposedly charms the ladies in “Josh Duhamel: The Triplet Tamer.”  “Katherine Heigl: Becoming The Best Mom Ever” examines Heigl’s portrayal of an overnight mom.  Lastly, “A Survival Guide To Instant Parenting” has snippets of advice.  The package also comes with a DVD/Digital Copy disc.

“Life As We Know It” is probably going to be a skip it.  There may be some couples out there that could find it slightly entertaining.  But on the whole, the film is a dud.  The audio and video qualities are typical of the genre and will not leave any sort of lasting impression.  Skip it or rent.

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