Life As We Know It
The premise of the most unlikely people being unexpectedly thrust into the role of parenthood and having to bring up someone else’s baby is not new.
Previously we have had Three Men And A Baby, in which carefree bachelors Ted Danson, Tom Selleck and Steve Guttenberg raised a baby abandoned by a former girlfriend. In Baby Boom, Diane Keaton played high powered businesswomen who inherited a baby from a distant cousin and whose hard nosed exterior was changed by the experience. And in Raising Helen, it was Kate Hudson who suddenly found herself raising three children after their parents died in a car accident.
And so to Life As We Know It, which is cliched, follows a fairly predictable arc and holds few surprises, although it does deliver a few laughs. Here the responsibility for bringing up baby is thrust upon the reluctant pair of Katherine Heigl (from Grey’s Anatomy) and Josh Duhamel (from Las Vegas, Transformers).
Heigl plays Holly, a control freak who runs an upmarket café and bakery. Duhamel plays Eric, a womanising playboy who works as a director of live sporting broadcasts. They first meet when mutual friends bring them together for a blind date, which goes disastrously wrong. The two loathe each other with a passion, But then their friends are killed in a car crash, leaving behind their one-year old daughter Sophie (played by the Clagett triplets). Holly and Eric are surprised to learn that they have been made the legal guardians of Sophie. Cue montages of changing dirty diapers, supposedly hilarious mishaps, and lots of cute baby antics.
The prickly relationship between this odd couple slowly softens and the palpable sexual tension between them grows as they bond while bringing up baby. There is actually a strong chemistry between Heigl and Duhamel, which overcomes the predictable nature of the script. Heigl has found herself playing variations of this tightly wound neurotic character in a number of films. Duhamel has an easy going and laid back charm, although his character is fairly one-dimensional and shallow.
The formulaic script comes from the writing team of Ian Deitchman and Kristin Rusk Robinson, who have written for The Simpsons and The Tracey Ullman Show, which were far sharper. The director is Greg Berlanti, who hails from a background in television as an executive producer on series like Brothers & Sisters, Eli Stone and Dirty Sexy Money. Under his workmanlike direction this looks and feels like a pilot for a new short lived TV sitcom. There are no great cinematic moments, and visually the film is quite bland. The film is also overlong, and could have been trimmed by at least twenty minutes without losing any of its essential elements.