Perhaps it’s the fact that she seems to get herself a bad reputation, perhaps it’s the fact that she’s not a very good actress, perhaps it’s the fact that her choice of movie roles, quite frankly, suck but there’s just something easy to dislike about Katherine Heigl. I can’t think of another young actress in recent years who has managed to throw away so much potential and goodwill on so many uber-bland “star vehicles”. She’s like some kind of Jonah. Yet people who know me will know that I always try to go into each and every viewing with some shred of optimism. On the bright side with this film, I thought, Josh Duhamel is in it and I do tend to enjoy his presence onscreen.
Such optimism tries to stick around but you really can’t blame it for packing bags and shipping off as soon as Life As We Know It starts to rack up the numerous contrivances it needs to keep our two leads (Heigl and Duhamel, of course) in the same space and full of the potential to learn valuable life lessons and fall in love with one another. This is a romantic comedy with not one but at least three or four different montage moments – and that’s not counting any I may have missed while operating on my pained eyeballs with the inner workings of a ballpoint pen and a bowl full of lemon juice.
The plot is almost unworthy of a descriptive paragraph. Heigl and Duhamel are two people who thoroughly dislike each other and so, of course, they are thrown together into an emotionally charged situation when a baby is left in their care. THEIR care. Yes, they’re expected to work together and make the situation work. Hmmmmm, do you think that something could develop between such two attractive specimens?
Amazingly enough, it’s not all bad. The movie is the very definition of “average” with the general unlikability of Heigl balanced out by the affability of Duhamel. The supporting cast – including Josh Lucas, Christina Hendricks and Melissa McCarthy – is also pretty good. And yes, despite how much I’d like to deny it, there were a couple of moments that made me chuckle. Hey, everyone knows how easily amused I can be.
Ian Deitchman and Kristin Rusk Robinson are responsible for the script and they’ve created something so formulaic and “by the numbers” that it almost actually feels like an insult to everyone viewing the thing. Perhaps if just some wit or intelligence was added, some small moment of self-deprecation even, then it wouldn’t feel so horribly bland and unworthy of your attention.
Director Greg Berlanti treats the material as it expects to be treated. It’s an exercise in cinematic mundanity that trundles along for almost two hours. I can’t recall the last time that I watched something quite SO staggeringly average. Bizarrely, the biggest thing against it is also the biggest plus point. It’s just harmless fluff with infrequent moments that will raise an involuntary smile. The cinematic equivalent of a calendar covered in cute kitten pictures.
A lot of people will find my rating far too generous but I simply had to give the most average score possible to the most average film of 2010.
DIRECTOR: GREG BERLANTI
WRITERS: IAN DEITCHMAN, KRISTIN RUSK ROBINSON
STARS: KATHERINE HEIGL, JOSH DUHAMEL, JOSH LUCAS, CHRISTINA HENDRICKS, HAYES MACARTHUR, MELISSA MCCARTHY
RUNTIME: 114 MINS APPROX