Life as We Know It (M)

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Review byMatthew Turner7/10/2010

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 114 mins

Like The Switch, Life As We Know It struggles to recover from its monstrously crass central premise, but if you can get past that it's actually rather enjoyable, thanks to strong performances from the two leads and a formulaic but effective script that pushes all the right buttons.
What's it all about?
Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel play Holly and Messer, the his-and-her best friends of married couple Alison and Peter (Christina Hendricks and Hayes MacArthur). Holly and Messer can't stand each other but put up with each other's company for the sake of their friends, especially when they're both named godparents to their baby daughter Sophie.

However, after a tragic accident, Holly and Messer are named as the baby's joint legal guardians and find themselves having to live together and raise Sophie between them. Naturally it isn't long before their new set-up causes problems in both their work lives (Holly's trying to expand her restaurant, Messer's a sports director) and their love lives (Messer is a serial womaniser, Holly's just met an attractive doctor (Josh Lucas)).

The Good
Heigl and Duhamel make an extremely likeable screen duo and there's also a decent amount of chemistry between them, which is always the magic ingredient when it comes to formulaic romcoms. There's also strong comic support from Sarah Burns (as their emotionally involved social worker) and Andrew Daly (as their wisecracking neighbour), though the script completely wastes the wonderful Jean Smart (who has maybe one line as Holly's mother) and Lucas is painfully underwritten as Holly's potential love interest.

Fortunately, the script delivers several funny scenes (most notably a sequence where they get stoned and watch children's television) and it also subtly undercuts at least a handful of the usual clichés (such as the dash to the airport) while still sticking closely to the tried and trusted romcom formula.

The Bad
As with The Switch, Life As We Know It suffers from a monstrously crass set-up that almost derails the whole film – for one thing, they get over the loss of their friends way too quickly and spend the whole of the funeral trying to offload Sophie onto someone more suitable. Similarly, the supposed crisis of the final act doesn't ring true and feels very contrived, even by usual romcom standards.

Worth seeing?
Once you get past the rather crass set-up, Life As We Know It is an enjoyable, if formulaic romcom that works thanks to the strong chemistry and likeable performances of the two leads.

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Life as We Know It (M)
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Content updated: 27/02/2020 01:59

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