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Life as We Know It(2010)
Holly Berenson is an up-and-coming caterer and Eric Messer is a promising network sports director. After a disastrous first date, the only thing they have in common is their dislike for each other and their love for their goddaughter, Sophie. But when they suddenly become all Sophie has in the world, Holly and Eric are forced to put their differences aside. Juggling career ambitions and competing social calendars, they'll have to find some common ground while living under one roof.
For more about Life as We Know It and the Life as We Know It Blu-ray release, see Life as We Know It Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on February 1, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Katherine Heigl, Josh Duhamel, Josh Lucas, Alexis Clagett, Brynn Clagett, Brooke Clagett
Director: Greg Berlanti
» See full cast & crew
Life as We Know It Blu-ray Review
"Do you know what marriage is like? Imagine a prison, then don't change anything."
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, February 1, 2011
I cry foul. Normally, a single plot point in a less-than-spectacular genre pic wouldn't trip me up, particularly a plot point in a romantic comedy. I'd remind myself that I wasn't watching Black Swan, Inception or True Grit, suspension of disbelief would kick in, and a love for my wife would compel me to grin and bear it. But Life as We Know It hinges on one of the most ludicrous plot points I've ever encountered in a film, good or bad, and I don't even have to deal with spoiler warnings to discuss it. Read on...
Holly (Katherine Heigl) is an uptight small business owner. Messer (Josh Duhamel) is an irresponsible, womanizing television sports director. Together they're... the worst couple imaginable, a fact they both openly acknowledge long before their first date fizzles and falls apart. But while the improbable lovers swear they'll never see each other again, their devotion to their soon-to-be-married mutual friends, Peter and Alison (Hayes MacArthur and Christina Hendricks), makes it difficult to avoid one another. Fast forward a few years. Peter and Alison have a newborn named Sophie, Holly and Messer still despise each other, and life as they know it is just as it should be. Suddenly, tragedy strikes. Peter and Alison are killed in a car accident and Sophie becomes an overnight orphan. Until, that is, a lawyer informs Holly and Messer of some shocking news: in their will, Peter and Alison designated Holly and Messer to be Sophie's legal guardians.
Did Holly and Messer know they were Sophie's annointed godparents? Nope. Did Peter and Alison have a good reason for leaving their precious daughter in the care of such dysfunctional adversaries? Nope. Does anything that transpires in the first act of Life as We Know It make a lick of sense? Not by my estimation. While I have no doubt this sort of thing happens on rare occasion, I'm almost certain no reasonable parents would leave their offspring to an uninvolved twosome who so openly loathe one another, much less require them to live under the same roof, share the subsequent burdens of child rearing and home ownership, and become a surrogate nuclear family in one fell swoop. And yet that's the setup director Greg Berlanti and screenwriters Ian Deitchman and Kristin Rusk Robinson would have hapless audiences swallow without question. I'm all for quirky concepts, but I didn't buy into this one for a second, and neither will most parents (and non-parents for that matter).
Sadly, little else about Life as We Know It works either. Duhamel and his crawling co-star out-toddle their fellow actors -- Heigl is a wreck, lunging from one unlikable extreme to the next -- but Deitchman and Robinson's cliche-ridden screenplay doesn't give the Transformers mainstay much room to maneuver. (Best actor after Duhamel? The police officer who tells Holly her friends have been killed.) Jokes and gags are misplaced and ill-timed, genuine laughs are few and far between, dramatic beats are sincere but slushy, and conversations, both serious and inconsequential, tend grow redundant. Worse, key character developments seem strangely irrelevant (not to mention altogether contrived) and the story clings to so many genre conventions that it's more akin to a rom-com checklist than a sweet and funny dramedy. Berlanti is just as culpable, of course, if not more so. The film stalls, lurches and stumbles ad nauseum, its tone is in a continual state of flux and nearly every element feels disconnected from the next. By the time Holly makes a mad dash for the airport (yep, we're force-fed one of those scenes), it's all over. Berlanti's third act isn't cohesive and the endgame suffers accordingly.
And then there's the Blu-ray edition's release date and cryptic plot synopsis. How many poor husbands will be duped into picking up Life as We Know It as a Valentine's Day gift for their wives? Happy Valentine's Day, babe! I got you a romantic comedy about tragic accidents, orphaned babies and unfit legal guardians! One that's guaranteed to make us think about what will happen to our kids if we die! Smooth, Casanova. Trust me: with a sea of romantic comedies at your disposal, you can do much better than this.
Life as We Know It Blu-ray, Video Quality
I'm beginning to think I could spot a romantic comedy presentation from a mile away. Somewhat oversaturated colors, slightly overcooked skintones, oil-spill blacks, soft lighting with fickle fine detailing, a neat-n-tidy field of genial grain... all of it attractive, polished and primed for mass market rom-com consumption. But while the trend curses the vast majority of Big Studio rom-coms with an unbecoming same-y-ness, it makes for many a notable high definition presentation. Life as We Know It earns just such a 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer and the results are, for better or worse, fairly satisfying. Primaries are a bit gaudy, faces are a tad overheated and black levels border on opulent, but it amounts to an extravagant (albeit overindulgent) genre delight. Andrew Dunn's palette is warm and appropriately heartfelt, detail and delineation are decent (especially considering the amber glow emanating from every surface), textures are well-resolved, edge definition is relatively crisp and clean, and the technical encode is, for the most part, pristine and proficient. Minor artifacting and banding spoiled my first impressions, but neither one proved to be a persistent issue. Some faint ringing, negligible crush and brief noise furrowed my brow on a few fleeting occasions as well, but each one was easy to overlook. All in all, Life as We Know It looks the part and looks good while doing so. Rom-commers will be pleased.
Life as We Know It Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Warner's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track isn't going to drop any jaws, but it is easy on the ears. Dialogue is bright and summery (even when the film is at its darkest) and every snarky quip, backhanded compliment and pint-sized squeal is perfectly prioritized in the mix. And in a chatty romantic comedy like Life as We Know It, that's often all that matters. Even so, the rear speakers help create an organic soundfield, one that favors refreshing restraint over peppy rom-com pomp and circumstance. Crowded neighborhood cookouts are suitably busy, sports arenas are loud and unruly, and Blake Neely's score darts in and out of the soundscape with ease. All the while, directionality is fairly precise, pans are effortless, and dynamics, though a wee bit reserved, are competent and consistent. LFE output isn't pushy or punchy either, brandishing its wonderfully weighty wares without resorting to jarring (and frankly unnecessary) low-end kicks. Long story short? Warner's lossless mix won't turn heads, but it will leave a lasting impression.
Life as We Know It Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Life as We Know It skimps on the supplements, offering a mere thirty minutes of saccharine studio featurettes and deleted scenes. It isn't entirely unexpected, but fans of the film will be disappointed by the lack of material.
Life as We Know It Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
What exactly is Life as We Know It? A stilted romantic comedy? A misguided dramedy? A scattershot tearjerker? A well-intentioned but poorly conceived genre pic? A maligned Valentine's Day gift for mothers and moms-to-be? Whatever it is, it isn't very good. Duhamel and his tiny co-star give their all -- and carry the film -- but it simply isn't enough. Heigl, Berlanti, Deitchman and Robinson fumble the flick from the get-go and never recover. Luckily, Warner's Blu-ray release takes away some of the sting. While its supplemental package is as anemic as they come, its AV presentation is quite good. Just don't pick up Life as We Know It as a Valentine's Day gift for the mother of your children. As romantic as dead parents, orphaned babies and unfit guardians may sound to you, believe me, she won't feel the same.
Life as We Know It: Other Editions
Life as We Know It Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray - February 8-14 - February 8, 2011
Katherine Heigl plays Holly, an uptight entrepreneur. Josh Duhamel plays Messer, a dysfunctional sports director. Together, they star in Life as We Know It, which sees this odd couple forced together after tragedy takes the lives of two mutual friends, and Holly ...
• Life As We Know It Blu-ray Announced - December 20, 2010
Warner Home Video has announced Life As We Know It for Blu-ray release on February 8, 2011, in a BD/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack. In this romantic comedy, Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel find themselves the guardians of the daughter of their best friends who have ...
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