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Review: Life As We Know It (Heigl movie)

Yours Truly was recently treated to a birthday movie by the Ladies.

Admittedly, I enjoyed the movie, but couldn’t remember the name of it when asked. (Sign of age-related memory loss, or a movie in need of a more memorable title – I’m not sure.) All I could remember was that it was a movie with Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel and that they were made guardians of their mutual best friends’ baby, Sophie. And Heigl and Duhamel are easy to look at. And the baby was a good actor. Or, was that the other way around? Never mind.

It was a good brain-in-the-bucket, romantic comedy. It pressed all the right buttons, building tension, making the audience laugh and cry, although there were one or two EWWW moments (like when they had sex in the deceaseds’ bed). I would’ve preferred if the script-writers had found another way of bringing the leads together, without killing off the baby’s parents, because it did put strain on the viewers and stretch the credibility of the characters and story, just a tinsy bit.

Holly Berenson (Heigl) and Eric Messer (Duhamel) are introduced to viewers as victims of a set-up date which goes wrong: they are polar opposites and hate each other at first sight. They keep crossing paths, being on their friends’ wedding party, then becoming godparents to Sophie. A car accident kills Sophie’s parents and leaves her in the care of Holly and Eric.

From there, the story follows the structure of a typical romantic comedy plot and follows the trajectory of two single, self-absorbed people who suddenly become parents. There are a lot of poo and spew incidents which give good laughs, especially (methinks) for those of us who’ve experienced something similar.

Poo jokes don’t get old when they make you recall your own special baby poo incidents. One of my own involved Dear Husband offering to be helpful (WARNING WARNING WILL ROBINSON) and taking our first child for a nappy change. For his comfort, he turned the change table around. With nappy off, he gave the gassy one a bit of help, gently pressing knees up towards abdomen, only to spray green poo all over the curtains. So helpful. So, maybe part of the enjoyment of this movie involved reliving one’s own parenting dramas. No Sleeping? Check. No eating? Check. Parents going mental? Check. Cue: empathetic laughing.

In the middle of the movie, I did wonder whether I was having deja vu or another senior’s moment, when I was sure I was back in the Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin movie, “It’s Complicated”. Similarly, it involved the leading lady being wooed in her own patisserie in the middle of the night, letting go and learning to be loved while doing some manic baking. Then, the leading lady has not one eligible man after her, but two. Then they get stoned. Marijuana must be back in vogue.

Were there similarities, or was I 'in the wrong cinema'?

Does it matter that it follows the rom-com formula and that it borrows substantially from “It’s Complicated”? Not really. “Life As We Know It” delivers the happily ever after and that’s what the viewers are expecting.

(With special thanks to: Antonella, Tina, Donna, Jen, Deb, Helen, Leanne, Suzie.)

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Categories: Movies, Review, Writing
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