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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Greg Berlanti
Cast:
Katherine Heigl, Josh Duhamel, Josh Lucas, Hayes MacArthur, Christina Hendricks, Sarah Burns, Jessica St. Clair
Writing Credits:
Ian Deitchman, Kristin Rusk Robinson

Tagline:
A comedy about taking it one step at a time.

Synopsis:
After a disastrous first date for caterer Holly (Katherine Heigl) and network sports director Messer (Josh Duhamel), all they have is common is a dislike for each other and their love for their goddaughter Sophie. But when they suddenly become all Sophie has in this world, Holly and Messer must set their differences aside. Juggling careers and social calendars, they’ll have to find common ground while living under the same roof. Josh Lucas, Christina Hendricks, Hayes MacArthur and Jean Smart co-star in this tart and tender romantic comedy directed by Greg Berlanti (Brothers & Sisters, Everwood).

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$14.506 million on 3150 screens.
Domestic Gross
$53.358 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Portuguese
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 114 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 2/8/2011

Bonus:
• “A Survival Guide to Instant Parenting” Featurette
• “Katherine Heigl: Becoming the Best Mom Ever” Featurette
• “Josh Duhamel: The Triplet Tamer” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• DVD/Digital Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Life As We Know It [Blu-Ray] (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 7, 2011)

As I started to write this review, I planned to comment that Katherine Heigl did little to capitalize on her breakthrough success in 2007’s Knocked Up. However, as I researched the four flicks she’s starred in since then, I came to a shocking realization: not a single one truly bombed! 2010’s Killers came closest, as it made only $47 million in the heated-up summer release schedule. That’s not a good showing, but I’m hesitant to call it a true flop.

2008’s 27 Dresses and 2009’s Ugly Truth weren’t exactly blockbusters, but they made $76 million and $88 million, respectively; with modest $30 million-ish budgets, both clearly made money. I could’ve sworn Heigl’s movie career was DOA, but the numbers don’t lie.

2010’s Life As We Know It turned into another vague success. It made $53 million, so it didn’t cause any celebrations, but since I suspect it probably didn’t cost much to make, it probably did okay for itself.

I gather this means we’ll get even more movies in which Heigl plays buttoned-down women who end up matched with rough around the edges guys. That’s the theme that served her so well in Knocked Up, and it’s the notion Heigl seems bound and determined to beat into submission.

In Life, Holly Berenson (Heigl) and Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel) get set up on a blind date. It doesn’t go well; she’s uptight and routine oriented, while he’s sloppy and free-spirited. Their date lasts about 15 minutes before they admit defeat and call it a night.

Fast forward three years, and tragedy intervenes. Their mutual friends Peter (Hayes MacArthur) and Alison (Christina Hendricks) – the ones who set them up on the ill-fated date – die in a car accident and leave their baby daughter Sophie an orphan. Unbeknownst to Holly and Messer, Peter and Alison stated in their collective will that they wanted their pals to become Sophie’s guardians if needed.

This totally catches Holly and Messer off-guard, but they decide to take on the challenge. They move into their friends’ house and become Sophie’s guardians. As they struggle to care for a toddler, they bicker and butt heads – why, they’re the original odd couple!

Except they’re not – heck, even Felix and Oscar weren’t the original odd couple. However, those two gave me substantially more enjoyment than anything I found in this consistently limp and predictable attempt at romantic comedy.

Honestly, there’s not a single creative or even vaguely moment to be found here. Every single viewer knows how the film will end almost before it begins, and no one involved does much to make the journey interesting. Oh, Heigl and Duhamel are generally likable, but they don’t bring much to the parts. They’re on total cruise control as they try to work with their dull characters.

And we’re stuck with 114 minutes of this banality. One hundred. Fourteen. Minutes. Romantic comedies and/or baby-related romps should be quick and breezy; they should barely crack the 100-minute barrier, if that. Stretching the pain to nearly two hours seems cruel and unusual.

Life usually feels like a script assembled by a computer, as it does little more than collect clichés and regurgitate them. How many poop/spit-up jokes can one man endure?

The film also occupies a bizarre alternate universe in which Practical Married Couple Peter and Alison have a traveling stripper as a close and personal friend. Why? To set up a wacky scene, of course! Logic doesn’t enter into the equation. And what couple chooses guardians for their child but doesn’t tell the prospective parents? Wouldn’t Peter and Alison kinda sorta maybe want to ask Holly and Messer if they’re interested in the gig?

If you’ve seen any of the umpteen romantic comedies with mismatched couples, you’ll know what to expect here. If you’ve seen any of the umpteen movies about the challenges of dealing with little kids, you’ll know what to expect here. Piling one cliché on top of another doesn’t mean that multiple wrongs make a right.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture C/ Audio C+/ Bonus C-

Life As We Know It appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While not a terrible presentation, the image seemed surprisingly lackluster.

Definition was the main problem. Although much of the movie displayed adequate to good sharpness, more than a few scenes looked rather mushy. I suspect some of this stemmed from photography choices, as the flick preferred a gauzy look, but I still thought the movie was strangely fuzzy. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no edge haloes. Source flaws were absent, as the movie looked consistently clean.

Colors followed a pretty standard modern romantic comedy template, as the palette favored a golden tint. This meant that hues tended to be on the overly warm side; they weren’t tremendously heavy, but they looked a bit dense. Blacks usually appeared excessively dark, but shadows looked reasonably concise. I thought this was a consistently ordinary image.

Similar thoughts greeted the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Life. This was a standard issue romantic comedy mix without much ambition. The soundfield focused on music and ambience, so it became tough to locate anything particularly memorable. I guess the basketball games showed some pep, but those were minor additions. Overall, this was a bland soundscape.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music offered good clarity and range, and effects worked well enough. They didn’t have much to do, but they appeared reasonably accurate. All of this ended up as a perfectly ordinary soundtrack.

The disc includes a small set of extras. We get three featurettes, and these start with A Survival Guide to Instant Parenting. It goes for seven minutes, 12 seconds and provides notes from producer Barry Josephson, director Greg Berlanti, and actors Bill Brochtrup, Melissa McCarthy, Andrew Daly, Jessica St. Clair, Will Sasso, Rob Huebel, and Josh Duhamel. This gives us a comedic look at the challenges of parenthood. It’s not especially funny or interesting.

The next two programs focus on the actors. We find Katherine Heigl: Becoming the Best Mom Ever (5:56) and Josh Duhamel: The Triplet Tamer (5:16). Across these, we hear from Josephson, Berlanti, Duhamel, producer Paul Brooks, baby actors’ mother Eric Clagett, and actors Josh Lucas and Katherine Heigl. In these, we hear how awesome and dedicated the actors are as well as some notes about their performances and characters. It tends to be forgettable fluff.

Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 14 minutes, 42 seconds. Xxxxxxxxxxx Some of these add minor character bits, and we get more wacky romps with Messer, Holly and the kid. One extended sequence shows comedic riffs on parenting from the neighbors seen in the flick, and we also find out why NBA player Steve Nash gets listed in the credits. The video messages from the parents border on amusement at times, but most of these are pretty forgettable and deserved to be cut; God knows this movie’s already too long, so it didn’t need additional footage.

A second disc provides both a digital copy of Life for use on computers or digital portable gadgets as well as a DVD copy of the film. This delivers a barebones package, so don’t expect any extras.

Tired romantic comedies don’t come much less inventive than the by-the-numbers Life As We Know It. It occupies some weird movie universe that lacks logic and consists mostly of whimsical musical montages. The Blu-ray comes with bland picture and audio as well as some minor supplements. Avoid this dull film and lackluster Blu-ray.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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