Life As We Know It is a new kind of romantic comedy in that it is actually what it claims to be: comedic.
The plot, though based on the generic format of any other film in the rom-com genre, is fresh enough to capture its audience and funny enough to keep it laughing.
Holly Berenson (Katherine Heigl) and Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel) are set up on a blind date at the start of the movie, and it is quickly made clear that they are two very different people. Despite their mutual wish to never see each other again, the pair are continually thrown together in the coming years as a result of mutual friends.
When confronted with the task of raising their friends’ daughter, Sophie, after a traumatic accident, they have to learn not only how to live together under one roof but also how to become parents. Though the plot does progress, it is the characters, their relationships and the comedy that make this movie a must-see.
Following the introductory date scene, the title sequence rolls with a collage of mock home videos of the friends, highlighting their lives, experiences, arguments and mutual festivities. Immediately the audience connects with the characters. Though Duhamel and Heigl’s acting isn’t anything better than what we’ve seen in the past from these two, it is definitely of higher quality than most movies of this genre. Duhamel and Heigl are unbelievably charismatic and charming when put together in a scene.
They are also quite believable in their roles: Heigl as a put-together workaholic with relationship issues and Duhamel as a sports fanatic and carefree ladies man. The two leads work very well together, and their natural chemistry has the audience praying for them to have their own happily-ever-after, even before this idea is presented as a possibility
Unfortunately, as it seems all chick flicks must, there is no shortage of corny scenes in this movie. The writers even go so far as to include the classic airport scene, where one character sprints down the terminal to stop the other from getting on the plane, only to find the plane has already departed.
What this movie has that its predecessors have lacked, however, is the redemptive touch of comedic relief. It is as if the writers knew just how cheesy they were being, and whenever it got too over the top, they threw a few more jokes the audience’s way. In the airport scene, for example, the caseworker sent to judge whether Eric and Holly are fit to be parents tags along. She yells fractious comments to the workers at airport security and cries over Holly’s inevitable unhappiness, effectively lightening the mood and distracting from the overdramatic action taking place at the forefront of the scene.
Life As We Know It is filled with a number of incredibly entertaining and hysterical moments from start to finish. Though there are lots of laughs to be had, there are also some less-than-funny scenes as well — you might tear up early on when Sophie’s parents die. Some might even tear up when they see Eric and Holly separate over issues ranging from raising Sophie to Holly’s new love interest, Sam (Josh Lucas).
Whether the audience likes Josh Lucas’ character or not, his part in the movie is nonetheless disposable. Even though his character is charming, sweet, good with kids, a doctor — seemingly the perfect guy — in classic genre fashion, the tropes of the film win out. Viewers will find themselves sucked into the lives of these characters, hoping against all realistic hope and all notions of practicality that the two leads find each other again.
Life As We Know It has its high and low points, as most movies do. Despite the cheesiness and overuse of some lines, this movie is still one for the masses. Everyone in the theater will be laughing through the whole of the movie, sometimes even for so long that they miss the next joke.
There is humor, drama, character growth, love, loss and outstanding actors — everything needed to make it the blockbuster hit that, if nothing else, its humor deserves.