Saturday, October 16, 2010

Life As We Know It

Say What?

The talk about town for this film revolves around a similar fiasco about how we in Singapore are so straight laced that we have to substitute "Shagged" with "Shioked" and now with this film, the poster which I thought was hilarious involving both Josh Duhamel and the kid in their respective diapers and bottles being chased after by Katherine Heigl, got removed and in place a rather creative shot from a first person baby's perspective of the two adults fussing over her, but well, you get the point. An adult in his underwear cannot make it to a movie poster. Got it.

Anyway Life as We Know It talks about how having a child is usually a planned affair, where a couple consciously knows about the trade off involving the loss of freedom, and a collective effort required by two (or probably more, depending on the help rendered from an extended family if any) to raise another human being to provide love and care and to instill good values and principles. Even if baby comes along unplanned, well, it's one's own flesh and blood. But to dump a baby onto someone else's lap is something irresponsible, but for reasons explained in the film, becomes the basic premise here.

With the demise of their respective best friends, Holly Berenson (Ketherine Heigl) and Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel) become saddled with joint guardianship of their less than one year old Sophie (played by triplets Alexis, Brynn and Brooke Clagett) together with a house that has its mortgage paid for by itself. But Holly and Messer (as he prefers to be called) are anywhere near chummy, which leads to the various episodic trials and tribulations that come their way since they are totally unprepared with parenthood, and have their respective careers to take care of which inevitably get turned upside down. However this is a typical Hollywood romantic comedy which is in reverse, where the inevitable melting of hearts amongst the opposites happen to provide that little dramatic complication.

This is a pro-family film that shows how a child can bring two hearts together or reinforce positive emotions, and tells of the virtue and importance of proper child support provided during the formative toddler years. While the premise may seem to be a little far-fetched, it does contain enough convenience in the story to ensure the child gets to where she's supposed to, with all the legal wrangling quickly passed over, and how other family members get logically and comically weeded out.

Katherine Heigl continues to rake up a series of handsome co-stars in her string of romantic comedies (wonder if that's in her contract), with the likes of Ashton Kutcher in Killers, Gerard Butler in The Ugly Truth, and James Marsden in 27 Dresses, and continues with her usual fine comic timing and stereotypical neurotic, control freak female character portrayals. Romantic comedies work only if the leads are charming, and somehow Ian Deitchman and Kristin Rusk Robinson's story make no qualms about explicitly mentioning how hot Josh Duhamel's Messer is, and he literally drips machismo.

But the scene stealer here hands down are young girls Alexis, Brynn and Brooke Clagett who rotate in their Sophie portrayal. I've not seen an ugly baby movie (who would want to make that?) and kudos to the filmmakers as they capture the trio in the best light and right moments that will just make your heart go "Aww...". One can imagine the kind of patience and reshoots required with children on the set, and full marks go to effort in making these scenes a success, because if the child doesn't tug at anyone's heartstrings, it'll become a stretch for the two hotties in the film to want to give up their lives for her rather than to opt for easier alternatives.

Predictable fare filled with caricatures are what make Hollywood romantic comedies tick, and this one is no different. For dates and those contemplating bringing another human being to the world, just to roughly know what you'll be in for. I'll certainly try singing Radiohead's Creep as a lullaby to the next baby I encounter, just to see if it works as touted! Parents beware!

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