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Movie Review

Life as We Know It

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual material, language and some drug content.

Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Romance Comedy Drama
1 hr. 52 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
October 2, 2010 (sneak previews)
October 8, 2010 (wide—3,100+ theaters)
DVD: February 8, 2011
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

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Sex, Love & Relationships
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Featuring: Katherine Heigl (Holly Berenson), Josh Duhamel (Eric Messer), Josh Lucas (Sam), Christina Hendricks (Alison Novack), Alexis Clagett (Sophie), Brynn Clagett (Sophie), Brooke Clagett (Sophie), Hayes MacArthur (Peter Novak), more »
Director: Greg Berlanti
Producer: Josephson Entertainment, Gold Circle Films, Village Roadshow Pictures, Paul Brooks, Denise Di Novi, Alicia Gelernt, Joe Hartwick Jr., Katherine Heigl, more »
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

“A comedy about taking it one step at a time”

After a disastrous blind date which ended before the car even started, Holly Berenson (Katherine Heigl) and Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel) cannot stand each other. Their only shared link is that their best friends are married and have a little girl named Sophie. When their friends are tragically killed in a car wreck, Holly and Eric are named the guardians of the now orphaned toddler. Putting their differences aside, the two decide to move into their friends’ home and take on the role as Sophie’s new parents, but of course, everything doesn’t go so smoothly.

As with any movie primarily about raising a baby, there are plenty of “aw” moments to be enjoyed. At times, the dialogue is refreshingly realistic in showing the challenges from becoming sudden parents to the humorous baby accidents. Though these strengthened the film, “Life as We Know It” is also marred by several clichés and crude content.

Holly is the over planner and Messer the uncommitted womanizer; the film would weave in and out of good character displays and would then fall into the overused plot devices (a third wheel, a frantic run to the airport, etc.) From the onset and coupled with the theatrical-trailer spoilers, their falling for one other is entirely expected. While they do have their sweet moments, Holly and Messer’s characters do not have a believable progression of change since a bit too much time was focused on their flaws, bickering, and mutual joy of Sophie. Indeed, the film is about raising a child, but it also attempted to fit the romantic-comedy genre. Duhamel and Heigl share fantastic chemistry, but their alone time wasn’t always spent in true bonding.

The film has its fair amount of objectionable content. In several scenes, Messer is shown with different women in his bed and kisses others. In a video montage, he pinches Holly’s behind. Holly accuses him of making a “booty call” and sarcastically asks if his privates hold “magic”. There is a heavy amount of sexual discussion between Messer and Holly; all the neighbors lust over Messer. Two of the neighbors are revealed to be a gay couple after one confides to Messer that he and his partner stopped having sex after the birth of their daughter. Holly and Messer do sleep together. They share a passionate kiss and the subsequent scenes show them taking off their clothes and waking up in bed together. Afterwards, Holly is shown in just a shirt.

Right before the social worker’s first visit, Holly becomes very drunk. After finding their friend’s stash of marijuana, Holly bakes it into brownies, and both she and Messer get high and watch kid shows together. The profanity is around the twenty mark with 10 as* and 2 “f”. God and Jesus’ name are profaned over 10 times.

Though the movie has sweet moments, its offensive content is too heavy to ignore. Because of this, I do not personally recommend the film. When first learning of their appointed guardianship, Holly and Messer have heated discussions as to whether or not they really want to make the commitment of raising a child. This hesitation is understandable, since they did not become parents in the traditional sense, but through the tragic, unexpected deaths of their friends. The movie gives accurate glimpses of how sudden changes in one’s life can be burdensome. While mountains of stress might crush our spirits, God is ever present. Psalm 46:1-2 is a good verse to end this review with since it shows just how reliable God can be in times of trouble:

“God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…”

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—I realize that Christians who worry about objectionable content will not like this movie. So if you’re strict about that sort of thing… don’t rent it. But if you are like me, and that sort of thing doesn’t bother you as much… I enjoyed it. It was smart and funny, and although there were a couple gross barfing and poopy diaper moments towards the first half of the movie, they were not as numerous as I feared they would be.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Rachel Jade, age 18 (USA)
Positive—I have not watched a movie in a while, and I was definitely offended by the moral backdrop presented in this movie. However, I found some surprisingly uplifting views of marriage/relationships that were represented, and that stand in contrast to our culture. The surprising messages I found in it were that:
1. promiscuity was unsatisfying
2. commitment brought the couple together (as opposed to looks or charm)
3. love was an outgrowth of commitment
4. they had to deal with their own selfishness to make the relationship work
5. you can fight, and it is okay (even the best marriage isn’t perfect)
6. fighting in your relationship (about the right things) can even be a good sign, and means that you haven’t given up
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Adam, age 26 (USA)
Neutral—While attempting to be a cutesy relationship flick, I didn’t find it particularly entertaining or believable. The genre is the same as many others—man is obnoxious, woman seems to have her life in order, but somehow they fall in love despite their initial not liking one another and wide disparity in values. Real life…? Maybe in Hollywood.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Fred, age 58 (USA)
Negative—My husband and I were very disappointed in this movie. What could have been a very cute movie was ruined by the extreme promiscuity, drug use and a forced ending. Before the father dies, he confiscates a young man’s marijuana with the intention of he and his wife using it later. Then, after he and his wife die, the main characters use the drug to make brownies.

Every woman and at least one man in the neighborhood lust after the leading male character. I didn’t think it was believable that this couple would ever get together. It felt forced at the end when Holly decides she’s in love with him.

I’m not sure which demographic this movie was trying to please. We were the only parents in the theatre by the look of it, and the teenage boys were the only ones to seem to appreciate the main characters constant conquests.

One more thing, I thought the social workers cursing was ridiculous, too.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Sarah, age 35 (USA)
Negative—My daughter and I (14) viewed this movie recently. I was disappointed with the movie. The story line was great but some of the content was much less desirable. The language was very offensive and not needed in my opinion. Comments have been made about the language and the sex, but not many about the drugs. Well, they didn’t smoke it, but they consumed it in brownies. Which offers the same effect. It sends the wrong message and offers other alternatives to consuming an illegal drug.

This is not a teen movie!!!… Use caution when allowing your teen daughter to see this. I did not and I am sorry that I allowed it. I would have rated this movie --R.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Lynn, age 44 (USA)
Negative—There are two things that are not mentioned in the comments: 1. The lack of real commitment (marriage) at the end was disappointing. 2. There was a homosexual male couple presented throughout the movie as completely “normal” and raising children. Also—one of the males was one of the ones lusting after the main male character. This could have been a nice family movie—but Hollywood destroyed it. Too bad.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Paulette, age 47 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—I liked this movie. The storyline was well-created, the acting well-done, and the quality was alright. I found very little objectionable content in the film, only mild swearing and misuses of the Lord’s name. Sure, there are sexual references and some drug content, but you know what to expect if you look at the rating. Nothing too over the top. I thought this movie was well-worth the $6 for the ticket.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Lydia P, age 17 (USA)