Mar 212011
 
Title: Life As We Know It
Genre: Rom-Com, Romance, Comedy
Starring: Katherine Heigl,
Josh Duhamel,
Certificate: US: PG-13
UK: 12
Picture: 2.40:1
Audio Format: Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English
Runtime: 1 Hour 54 mins
Extras: Deleted Scenes,
Featurettes
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: USA: Feb 08 2011
UK: Mar 28 2011
See If You Like: Three Men and a Baby,
Knocked Up

If like many readers and romantic-comedy fans, you’ve ever had a blind date go horribly wrong; and wondered why you were ever set up with the ridiculous person you met that night; you were probably glad you never had to see them again, and would have detested the thought of ever raising a child with them; unlike the couple featured in Life As We Know It.

After meeting up for their ill-fated blind date (which saw the man arrive an hour late, get squashed into the woman’s smart car, and take a ‘booty-call’ right in front of her), both Messer (Josh Duhamel, Las Vegas/Transformers), and Holly (Katherine Heigl, The Ugly Truth) were happy to return to their respective single lives; which left him as a happy-go-lucky, womanizing, technical director for the Atlanta Hawks TV games, and her as a successful bakery shop owner, pining over a handsome customer; only having to see each other at their friends’ more formal events (a wedding, birthday party, etc.).

Still content with being severely irked by Messer at every turn, Holly never dreams of even making friends with him (and openly calls him an asshole to his face), but is soon forced to; after their friends are both killed in a tragic car accident and, they find according to their friends last will and testament, they have suddenly inherited joint custody of their young daughter Sophie (who only a matter of hours before, had her first birthday party).

Dumbfounded and amazed that their friends would have picked them to raise their one and only child, Messer and Holly agree to move into their now vacant home and raise Sophie together (after first finding out that none of their friends’ family members were in the least bit suitable to take care of an infant); inevitably clashing over just about anything and everything.

The majority of the movie is then spent watching as the pair (who clearly despised each other to begin with) bond over the young girl they will be raising as their own, and start to truly care for her as if she were theirs; not wanting to miss a single gurgle, word, or step; as they are thrown in at the deep end and have to struggle to look after the youngster, and adapt their lives to suit her (including leaving her with a cab driver, and struggling to find something she likes to eat), but also start to grow closer to one another.

And while the comedy comes from watching as the two vastly independent individuals attempt to raise the young girl and make numerous mistakes along the way, there’s also a heavily romantic element; as while Messer and Holly have been thrust into sharing a home and a child with one another (having basically become a family overnight), they continue to insist that they are only friends, and still dip their toes in the dating pool, leaving a big will-they-or-won’t-they question hanging over the film.

Most readers and rom-com fans could probably guess the entire film’s plot, and conclusion (which even includes an airport scene), with only a basic summary, and even though Life As We Know It sticks to a now mind-numbingly predictable formula, it remains interesting, and fairly amusing; largely because of the antics the couple have with the young baby (rather than the key relationship between Messer and Holly).

Katherine Heigl basically plays herself again; in yet another rom-com role where she portrays an independent, control-freak of a woman who’s just yearning for Mr. Right to sweep her off her feet, and grows increasingly attached to a man she finds infuriating at the beginning of the film (as was the case with The Ugly Truth, and several others, where she was also likeble and easy to watch); and Josh Duhamel plays yet another stereotypical, egotistical male who’s charming ways and womanizing antics both offend and captivate the hearts of Heigl’s everywhere (a role that’s also similar to his character in Las Vegas, and one he also slots into with ease, and fills better than most; remaining likable to both men and women throughout).

As with any romantic comedy, chemistry is a major issue that could easily make or break the film, yet thankfully Duhamel and Heigl play off each other extremely well, are always charming and easy to watch, and seem to slip into their respective roles with ease; helping to make the slightly absurd premise that little bit more believable, and give viewers a real sense that they could actually get it together in the real world and make, as one character says, ‘a cute couple’.

While placing a couple together in a house with a baby might sound like a novel concept, and just about work in this situation, there’s nothing too original about Life As We Know It (which really plays off a bunch of standard rom-coms, and Three Men and A Baby in a big way), and while it may be a fairly easy watch, mildly amusing throughout, and far from a bad film, it’s 12 certificate keeps it from introducing any edgy humour that could make it that little bit more entertaining, and in the end, while it will undoubtedly be enjoyed by any rom-com fan, fails to elevate itself anywhere above a flavour-of-the-month chick-flick.

Picture:

Whilst the film itself is decent enough and sure to please fans of the genre; but fails to climb too far above what’s both average and expected; Life As We Know It’s Blu-ray video transfer fares little better; containing all the pros and cons we have come to expect from a newly released romantic-comedy.

Coming with a fine layer of film-like grain, no clear or obvious defects, and only the slightest crushing (which will undoubtedly go unnoticed by all of the movie’s true fans), Life As We Know It’s picture appears fairly strong (particularly as it contains fairly strong level of fine detail, and some decent textures), but despite the well rendered and bright colours, it falls down due to a fairly soft overall look that in some cases slightly hinders the detail, gives bright whites a strange halo, and like most modern rom-coms, comes with an overly warm tone; which whilst pleasing in some aspects (giving everything that rose-coloured-tint female fans long for), tends to gives the actors slightly orange looking faces.

This is by no means a bad transfer, and in fact nearly all of the problems inherent within the transfer are stylistic ones (with even the halos coming as a result of softening); which means that even though it might not be as stunning as a release such as Tron: Legacy, Life As We Know it still looks pretty good on Blu-ray (much better than on DVD), and is both crisp and warm enough to fully satisfy its core fan-base.

Audio:

Also above average, yet not stunningly impressive, is Life As We Know It’s 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack; which excellently reproduces clean, crisp, and intelligible dialogue throughout, contains some good directionality, and a decent bit of ambience in crowded locations (such as at an airport, or during any of the several crowed parties), but fails to ‘wow’ any listener due to the rear channels largely remaining inactive, and the track generally having little ‘pop’.

As far as rom-com soundtracks go, this is a pretty decent audio mix that stands at least as tall as most of its major competitors, is engaging enough, and has no real problems to speak of; meaning that while it’s never going to make a store demo, the soundtrack for Life As We Know It will be more than adequate for anyone wanting to watch an amusing rom-com.

Extras:

Kicking off with a selection of deleted scenes that are fairly dull, and rightly removed from the final film, the selection of special features for the Life As We Know It Blu-ray largely revolve around the three HD-exclusive featurettes; which consist of A Survival Guide to Instant Parenting (a promotional piece where the cast lay on some amusing parenting advice), Becoming the Best Mom Ever (witnessing the challenges Katherine Heigl faced in becoming an overnight mother), and The Triplet Tamer (in which Josh Duhamel furthers his sex appeal by getting sentimental; when talking about what it was like to work with the triplets who played the young Sophie).

Fans of the film should find each of the featurettes (and to a lesser extent the deleted scenes) worth a watch; as while they offer little replay value, they are like the film in that they are both charming and mildly amusing; and adequate enough when considering that the Blu-ray is a Triple Play release; coming with a DVD and Digital Copy included.

The Bottom Line:

Life As We Know It provides everything you’ve come to expect from a modern romantic comedy; a few laughs, a guy and a girl who hate each other but are thrust together by fate and grow closer and closer throughout the course of the film, and a couple of fairly attractive stars to plays the leads; and while for many that will be exactly what they want to hear, it means it won’t gain too many male fans, and probably won’t be remembered by most female viewers next year.

Picture and audio quality are both solid; falling short of demo quality material, but remaining more than adequate enough for the genre; and while there may not be an abundance of special features, those that are included are both amusing, charming, and worth watching; meaning that Blu-ray is definitely the way to go for any true fan of the film.

Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel are both perfect for the romantic comedy genre, work exceptionally well together, and help to provide a good few laughs with their numerous trips, slips, and mishaps, as they attempt to raise somebody-else’s child together, and despite the fairly ridiculous concept they carry the film very well, making it a strong one in the genre, and a movie that’s bound to be a hit with anyone who loves a good romantic comedy.

Matt Wheeldon@TheMattWheeldon.

Film:
Ratings 07 Buy from Amazon.co.uk Buy from Amazon.com
Video:
Ratings 07
Audio:
Ratings 07
Extras:
Ratings 07
Overall:
Ratings 07