Life As We Know It

Really, it’s a pretty ghastly title. “Life as we know it?” Give me a break. Sounds like some noon-time melodrama between Guiding Light and As the World Turns.

Now that I have that out of the way, I can get to my point.

It is being slammed by critics. It has a terrible rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I saw an early pre-screening, so I don’t know anyone who has watched/liked it yet. But I’ve suggested it to some people, and considering all it’s bad press, I feel like I should at least defend my recommendations.

Despite its faults, I actually really enjoyed this movie.

This comes as something of a shock because (I know, I know) I’m not the kindest critic of romantic comedies. But can you blame me? With films like When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail and Annie Hall and Say Anything and all those classics setting the bar high, it seems wrong to simply dismiss “RomCom” as a hopeless (but thriving) genre. It can be done right!

Well, Life As We Know It doesn’t exactly do everything right, but I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

Why?

  1. Supporting characters – People like this do exist and, chances are, they are exactly the type of pesky, quirky neighbors that complement this main storyline perfectly. I loved the minor characters, jumping in with perfectly delivered one-liners to offset the struggles and conflicts of the two leads. They were hilarious and believable and I loved them all.
  2. Realistic humor – Okay, I admit that whipping out the baby poop isn’t exactly the most refined or clever way to get a laugh, but it works. Compare it to the painful, exaggerated attempts at humor in The Proposal. That’s all I can think of at the moment. I try to erase all other memories of bad romcom humor. There’s a thin line between too little (Love Happens) and too much (Failure to Launch). What happened to good dialogue? What happened to witty banter? This movie didn’t exactly shine in that area either, but what it does is enough to keep the comedy rolling. It plays on real situations that, though predictable, still manage to be funny (to me at least).
  3. Casting – Okay, I won’t try to lie. I definitely came out of this movie with a bit of a crush on Josh Duhamel. But it’s because he fits the part! And he’s adorable! And he and Katherine Heigl have a good chemistry! But seriously, I felt like this was well-cast. It made sense and they really do make a very good-looking couple. Props to casting.

John August wrote this in his blog:

Well, I think this movie does that. I know what everyone else is saying, but screw it. I don’t care.

Yes, it had parts that were unnecessary. Yes, it had it’s corny moments that made me cringe. Yes, it went for some easy laughs that will be irrelevant and outdated within a few years. Yes, it overused montages and was very rom-com typical. But on the whole? Compared to all the others? I thought it wasn’t half bad. It was sweet and sentimental. Unlike the many pieces of shit being churned out by the oftentimes shameful and disastrous factory that is romantic comedy, I think it does a decent job.

Maybe I’m wrong here. Maybe I just liked it because I’m a girl, but even if that is the case, I think it hit the right beats and pulls at the right emotions. Isn’t that what movies are supposed to do anyway? Of course it’s for a target audience and yes, I am part of that target audience. I admit, it’s no masterpiece, but it knows what it sets out to do and it does it better than a lot of romantic comedies I’ve seen recently.

To me, it’s not a guilty pleasure movie like Sweet Home Alabama or a regretful waste of time like Love Happens. I’m not saying it’s the best movie ever or that it belongs on a shelf with the rare classic greats of romantic comedy, but I’m saying that it deserves a shot.

That’s just my opinion, but I’m willing to defend it.

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About Booki
"Somewhere man must know that self-perception is the most frightening of all human observations. He must know that when a man faces himself, he is looking into an abyss."

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