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By Megan Lane · October 11, 2010
I think this is the perfect movie for me to review after The Social Network (really, I just want to keep talking about The Social Network). In discussing trailers, I maintain that The Social Network is one of the best trailers I’ve ever seen and at the end of the day, the movie completely lived up to it. In my continuous trailer analysis, Life As We Know It is one of the worst trailers I’ve ever seen (worst being Christmas With The Kranks (2004), write me if you want my complete rant on that). It was one of those trailers where you feel like you watched an entire movie in 1:30 seconds. Why did I decide to drop $15 on this? I’m a girl. We love babies, we love rom-coms; I had to go (plus, I don’t like animal movies and maintain that Diane Lane should not be allowed to star in anything that doesn’t premiere on Lifetime).
So here is life, as director Greg Berlanti knows it: When their mutual friends are killed in a car accident, Holly (Katherine Heigl) and Messer (Josh Duhamel) are forced to become co-parents to young Sophie even though they hate each other with a passion.
What we fail to notice in this fluffy little trailer about polar opposites raising a baby is the fact that Holly and Messer tragically lost their best friends in a car accident and while they are attempting to comically raise a baby, they are dealing with the grief of a horrible loss. And poor Sophie lost her parents before she’s even old enough to know them. It’s funny in the way Kevin Smith’s flop Jersey Girl (2004) was funny.
On top of being extremely depressing, the premise is completely unbelievable. Sophie’s parents are incredibly responsible and in an incredibly long first act, we see that their young daughter is the most important thing in the world to them. So why would they specifically leave their daughter to two people who despise each other? And on top of that, fail to tell them? Is there really no one better to care for a small child than two single people who hate each other’s guts?
But even allowing for this huge logic problem, once Holly and Messer move in together, all the potential conflict goes out the window. The fact that they hate each other is never brought up again. They go through the same issues that all new parents go through and really nothing more. What happened to this non-couple that can’t stand to be in the same room together?
Really the movie was just another excuse for Katherine Heigl to play her favorite character, the busy professional control freak who has to learn that flexibility is the spice of life. And who better to teach her than the fun-loving under achieving smooth talking playboy? Hollywood is desperately trying to make her the next Julia Roberts, but I really don’t see that happening since I don’t find myself relating to her. Maybe she needs bigger hair.
As an audience of primarily women, we’re supposed to believe that Holly is always in the right and Messer is just an immature jackass. But what Heigl’s character perpetuates is the awful stereotype that the fairer sex strives for. She’s passive aggressive, knows everything about everything, and believes she is above everyone else. We’re supposed to be on her side as she hates on Messer, but cannot help but think he’s actually a pretty fun guy. And of all the characters in the movie, she seems to be the only one who has a problem with him. And of the two of them, I’d much rather be friends with him.
If you’re up for a good laugh, watch the trailer, you’ll get all the funny beats of the film without any of the heartache. Life As We Know It, the full-length version, did nothing but bum me out; both by the premise, but also by what our movie star caste system is becoming.
1.5 out of 4 totally unbelievable scenarios.