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LIFE AS WE KNOW IT

SYNOPSIS:
Holly Berenson (Kathryn Heigl) runs a popular boutique cafe which she hopes to expand into a restaurant, but her personal life is far less successful. Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel), a broadcast sports TV technician, happily juggles girlfriends as he waits for his big break as a fully-fledged director. After a disastrous blind date set up by their best friends, they can barely tolerate each other as they exercise their responsibilities as godparents to baby Sophie. When tragedy strikes and Holly and Eric are all that Sophie has in the world, Holly and Eric have to set their differences and career aspirations aside as they struggle to co-exist under the same roof.

Review by Louise Keller:
In yet another twist on the relationship and baby happiness formula, this predictable and formulaic Hollywood rom com chick flick has some fun moments, despite its occasionally cloying storyline based in the plastic never-land of fake reality. With the premise hinging on an incompatible couple's love for a red-haired, ever-crying, pooping (but ultimately cute) baby, Kathryn Heigl struggles in the credibility stakes but charismatic, hunky Josh Duhamel fares somewhat better. It's easy enough on the eye, offers a few laughs and essentially delivers what is expected, although when you consider the film's maximum tension comes from the anticipation of 'when will they kiss', it is hard to justify the 114 minute running time, when it would slot happily into a sit-com platform.

In speed jumps covering the twelve months after Duhamel's buff lady killer Eric Messer messes up his blind date with Heigl's Holly Berenson, we see the discomfort and awkwardness as they are thrown together in their roles as new godparents to their best friends' baby Sophie (played by cute triplets Alexis, Brynn, Brooke Clagett). Tragedy strikes in more ways than one, when they have to move in together - for Sophie's sake. The next twelve months (split into four seasons) takes considerably longer. Remember the hair gel scene in 'There's Something about Mary'? The equivalent here is the scene in which a large brown smear across Holly's pretty face appears, after her first nappy-changing encounter, witnessed by the whole neighbourhood. Get the picture?

There's a running gag involving the social worker (Sarah Burns is terrific), who arrives unannounced at awkward times (including one which involves illicit drugs and chocolate brownies) and there's a funny sequence in which Messer twists his cab-driver's arm (comedian DeRay Davis in good form) to play babysitter. No, Sophie won't eat anything that Holly, the dream caterer spoons her but smiles and snacks for Messer. The remedy to her situation? Pinot Noir, prescribes Josh Lucas' Sam, the free-range turkey sandwich loving paediatrician who becomes Holly's alternate love interest (Why do they always write such wimpy parts for the alternate guy?)

The moment when the two attractive leads finally kiss does eventually arrive, after witnessing the progressive nightmare of poop, sleep deprivation and parenting angst. But there's Thanksgiving to get through and a few more ups and downs before the final resolution, which could probably be summed up as Life As We Would Like It.
Published first in the Sun-Herald

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

LIFE AS WE KNOW IT (M)
(US, 2010)

CAST: Katherine Heigl, Josh Duhamel, Josh Lucas, Alexis Clagett, Brynn Clagett, Brooke Clagett

PRODUCER: Paul Brooks, Barry Josephson

DIRECTOR: Greg Berlanti

SCRIPT: Ian Deitchman, Kristin Rusk Robinson

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Andrew Dunn

EDITOR: Jim Page

MUSIC: Blake Neely

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Maher Ahmad

RUNNING TIME: 114 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 21, 2010







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