LIFE OR SOMETHING LIKE IT
Lanie Kerrigan (Angelina Jolie) is an ambitious Seattle television reporter, who lives with her fiance, baseball star Cal (Christian Kane) and leads a near perfect life. When on assignment with cameraman Pete (Edward Burns), she interviews homeless seer Prophet Jack (Tony Shalhoub), who predicts she will die within a week. When Prophet Jack’s other predictions come true, Lanie begins to re-assess her structured, disciplined life.
Review by Louise Keller:
Enjoy yourself, it is later than you think, my mother used to tell me as a child. Good advice but surprisingly hard to follow, in as much as working out priorities and juggling work, play, family and relationships. And that’s pretty much the theme of this delightful romantic comedy, in which Lanie re-evaluates her perfect life when she becomes obsessed by a scruffy prophet’s predictions. What makes the film so darned enjoyable is Angelina Jolie’s effortless magnetism and convincing performance. Not only does she look fabulous, and the camera lingers on every photogenic feature, but she captures the essence of this superficial character who embarks on an emotional journey that changes her life. Coupled with Edward Burns, whose likeable persona effects the same kind of dense charisma of a younger Richard Gere, we just can’t wait to see Lanie and Pete get together. With Marilyn Monroe as her role model and harbouring feelings of resentment of her father’s affections for her sister, Lanie is an ambitious perfectionist. Lord forbid. You know, the type whose stilettos are designer, long nails are sculptured, contact lenses replace nerdy glasses and whose coiffed, bleached hair could be featured in a hairdressing magazine. When it comes to the image and the job, Lanie knows all the moves. But by the time she is bopping with the picket line singing ‘I Can’t Get No Satisfaction’ with dishevelled clothes and hair, I guarantee you will be bopping too. What begins as a somewhat predictable Hollywood romantic comedy, spirals into a tender, sweet love story and opens the door to life’s deeper and more meaningful issues. Perhaps fun, frivolity and spontaneity should play a part too in every day life. I absolutely love Tony Shalhoub’s wild, bearded seer who sees after you pay, and Stockard Channing’s memorable cameo is filled with character expose and surprises. Life or Something Like It delivers more than you expect, and takes you on an emotional trip that satisfies.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
There’s something missing from this film, as if the writing workshop hadn’t quite finished developing the ideas and characters. It’s unsatisfying for its lack of having nothing more to say than life’s too short to be fooling yourself. It also suffers from PS (Predictability Sydnrome) and squeezes a ‘sibling rivalry’ subplot beside a ‘dead mother’ device, neither of which quite fires – or gets a proper payoff. Effortlessly mediocre, the film does manage to rise above its ordinariness on a handful of occasions, notably when Stockard Channing is on screen, or when Edward Burns is allowed to activate his character. Angelina Jolie is as watchable as ever, her physicality being what it is. But she is kept on a leash in this film, her character confined by a script that hacks away at its one-note idea and allows no resonances or nuances to expand her character. Oh, except that shallow bitchy sibling rivalry stuff. And in the ending, the film finds a way to contradict its overwrought premise of predictions coming true, thus leaving the whole script with egg on its face.
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LIFE OR SOMETHING LIKE IT (M)
CAST: Angelina Jolie, Edwards Burns, Tony Shalhoub, Christian Kane, JamesGammon and Stockard Channing
PRODUCER: John Davis, Toby Jaffe, Arnon Milchan, Chi-Li Wong
DIRECTOR: Stephen Herek
SCRIPT: John Scott Shepherd
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Stephen H. Burum
EDITOR: Trudy Ship
MUSIC: David Newman
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Bill Groom
RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 5, 2002
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Entertainment
VIDEO RELEASE: February 12, 2003 (Also on DVD)
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.