"Life as We Know It" Promises Some Woman's Perfect, Reality-less Dream
Set up on a blind date by their married best friends, Holly (Katherine Heigl) and Messer (Josh Duhamel) show each other the worst of themselves. ("You look like you read," he says disparagingly. Trust me, she doesn't.) They separate in a huff before making it to dinner. Soon, the best friends die, leaving custody of a baby daughter to the "incompatible" twosome. Guess how long it takes the barely mourning singles to fall in love? If sitcom parenthood begins with a romantic kiss and resolves itself in a lifetime of compromise, Life as We Know It imagines motherhood in reverse. Largely shooting through a hazy white, dreamlike filter, director Greg Berlanti creates some woman's dream: instant satisfaction of domestic and matrimonial urges via the takeover of a perfect friend's perfect life — with the added bonuses of transforming an Entourage-style dude into a domesticated dad and indulging in desserts while still fitting into a pencil skirt. And all without having to put up with stretch marks, without putting the career on hold, without having to do much at all but change an occasional diaper. Perfect wish fulfillment — right? If only. Life offers some vicarious pleasure for the baby-hungry, but it also forces Heigl — and most of the other women in the picture — to humiliate themselves for the sake of gags that debase without drawing laughs. The feminine fantasies Berlanti seemingly seeks to stoke are undercut by a vibe that's weirdly misogynistic.
Get the Film Club Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.