October 7, 2010

Heigl and Duhamel Shine in 'Life as We Know It'

By Billy Nastyn, Contributing Writer

Life as We Know It posterKatherine Heigl is in yet another romantic comedy? Wait, it isn't cliche? It seems that Life as We Know It avoids being what we expect of Hollywood chick flicks.
The basic criteria for a generic boy-meets-girls, girl-detests-boy, and boy-proves-he's-worthy kind of movie is present, but don't judge too soon since everyone knows that this movie has a major turning point.

In the flick Holly Berenson (Heigl) and Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel) are set up on a disastrous date by their married best friends, and within minutes go their separate ways with extremely sour first impressions. Years pass and bakery owner Holly is crushing on one of her regulars (Josh Lucas), while network sports director Messer is loving his bachelor lifestyle with no plans on commitment. About the only thing they have in common is their adoration for little Sophie, their best friends' daughter. Things change when a car accident leaves Sophie orphaned with these two inexperienced and unprepared caretakers.

We all know that the parents are going to die, but the character's stories are set up so well that it was easy to be caught off guard and shocked by the event. This bit of realism immediately sets a tone that could so easily be ruined by too many gag moments, but the movie avoids them well. The jokes are funny, but none take the extra step to simply up the cheese factor. Sure, there’s some special brownies, baby poop and even The Wiggles, but it's just the right amount of each.

Along with this duos' introduction to all things baby, the laughs are also brought on by some memorable secondary characters. The couple's neighbors provide some of the best comedy (most notably from a bossy, southern Melissa McCarthy), but they remain in perfectly timed moderation. You can’t help but love each neighbors' commentary on their own relationships, especially while they're drooling over sweaty, shirtless Messer (eye candy, anyone?)

There is a certain formula to this movie that works, and it has to do with a complete focus on Holly and Messer individually and in their forced family dynamic. Sophie seems to be the glue that brings these characters to life and gives them reasons to learn more about each other, even when they’re resisting. Plus, she is a darn cute baby!

Life as We Know It really takes you through a new kind of chick flick that is very smart about how it gets you to the end. You know it's going to be predictable, but the film manages to throw in just enough curve balls to escape the cliche.

Check out the full trailer of Life as We Know It starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel:

Plus enjoy this cute clip of Messer picking up chicks in the grocery story:

Life as We Know It is in theaters on Friday October 8, 2010.