Messer (Josh Duhamel) is the lovable douche just gorgeous enough to not be held accountable for the jerky things he does and to have an ever-rotating selection of beautiful women parked between his sheets. Though I'd really like to believe he's been attracted to Holly (Heigl) since their disastrous first date, and that all of his antagonizing since then has been a form of playground flirtation, that doesn't actually seem to be the case. I remain unclear on exactly when he became attracted to her or why, if he didn't find her trademark "quirky-plus-hot" thing to be appealing from the start.
The film centers on Holly and Messer having to step to the plate as godparents after their best friends die suddenly in a traffic accident. They move into the family home with their goddaughter, Sophie, meet their social worker (at predictably horrible times, always), and attempt to create a schedule in which they can both keep their kick-ass careers and single lives going as normal.
Through all of the rom-com staples (wacky neighbors, oh-what-a-pickle-we're-in timing, bubble baths, a drunk scene, etc.) there are a few genuinely good moments. My personal favorite is when Holly stumbles onto a tape from the day Sophie's parents brought her home from the hospital. She and Messer watch with barely contained glee as their dearly departed friends immediately get into a spat over the paint in the nursery. Seeing Sophie's late parents as imperfect plays out as a reassuring moment. It overrides the saccharine corniness that we expect from the standard dead parents home movie plot point.
I also really enjoyed it when the expected airport chase scene occurs, the character doing the chasing actually buys a ticket and takes the time to go through security. It's little touches like this that up the quality in this particular piece of fluff.
I'm not going to rent Life As We Know It later or recommend it to my friends. That said, I took my mom to see it, and I had a genuinely good time. I knew what I was getting into and without the expectations of actual cinematic "quality," I was able to laugh at the jokes and go with the outlandish storyline.
Ah, it's that time of year again the humidity breaks, the temps come down, and the multiplex sees the annual release of a rom-com starring a charmingly neurotic Katherine Heigl locked into a sexually tense banter-fest with a guy she claims to hate. Since I seriously doubt anyone is heading to the theater without already knowing exactly how this movie will end (and being able to predict a solid 80 percent of the middle), I don't think anyone who willingly walks into the cinema is going to be disappointed by this film.
That said, it's not necessarily a good film. Life As We Know It is a sweet-though-predictable story your mom will love and at least one of your friends will find vaguely misogynistic. No tricky questions concerning maternity or relationships are raised by the material, even as the characters run the gamut of romantic turmoil.
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