'Life As We Know It' not worth knowing

Article Published: Oct. 14, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
'Life As We Know It' not worth knowing

Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel star in 'Life As We Know It.'

If Life As We Know It is life as we know it, please, make it stop.

The romantic dramedy from director Greg Berlanti (The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy) is a slapdash hodgepodge of formula and cliche, steeped in attempted poignancy and diaper jokes.

Like diapers, romantic comedies need to be changed once in a while, and Life As We Know It already reeks.

It's not the fault of stars Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up) and Josh Duhamel (When in Rome), who actually do share an enjoyable chemistry, but rather Life's mean-spirited screenplay, loathsome supporting characters and an all-too predictable story.

You know how it's going to end just by watching the trailer, which also ruins whatever funny moments the film could originally boast. Audiences are instead left with a maudlin wannabe tearjerker that seems to defy time and space.

Heigl and Duhamel star as Holly and Messer, two single friends of perfect couple Peter (Hayes MacArthur, She's Out of My League) and Allison (Christina Hendricks, TV's Mad Men).

Hoping to spark a romance, Peter and Allison set the two up on an ill-fated date, which humorously ends before they can even pick a restaurant. Fast forward to several years later, when Holly and Messer are named godparents of Peter's and Allison's child, Sophie, and they can still barely tolerate each other.

And in one of the most disturbingly dark rom-com setups, Peter and Allison are killed in a car accident. However, they'd designated Holly and Messer as Sophie's legal guardians, were such a tragedy ever to occur, and child services suggests they both live in their late friends' house to keep infant Sophie sane.

And hilarity ensues.

Neatly containing all gravity and grief in a concise five minutes, Life promptly switches gears to cliched baby, odd-couple comedy, invoking a cruel sense of Three Men and a Baby meets The Ugly Truth.

While Holly gracefully accepts the burden of raising an orphaned child, Messer is considerably more reluctant, instead wanting to retain his motorcycle-riding, lady-killing, bachelor lifestyle. But the two agree to honor their late friends' wishes and embark on an emotional journey of self-discovery, realization, and blah, blah, blah.

Along the way, we meet Peter and Allison's repugnant neighbors, consisting mainly of neutered men and their domineering wives, all of whom simultaneously praise and bemoan the responsibilities of parenthood.

When Life tries to wax philosophical on such responsibilities, including the inherent joys, its trite attempts at comedy make everything fall flatter than a toddler on ice. Oh, and let's not forget the poop jokes, or the one where the baby spits food in someone's face.

Life works neither as a comedy or a drama, nor is it very romantic, begging a question that's nearly as convoluted as its premise: "Whose life is this that's supposedly as we know it, and why are we having to live it?"

Life As We Know It, rated PG-13 for sexual material, language and some drug content, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone.

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