'Life as We Know It' Review: Formulaic but Worthy Romantic Comedy

Life as We Know It” begins with a bad date. Holly (Katherine Heigl) and Messer (Josh Duhamel) have been set up by mutual friends. When Messer arrives at Holly's apartment an hour late, the couple immediately dislike one another. Even before they go out to dinner, an argument ensues and the two decide to part ways before Holly's car leaves its parking spot. As it often does in romantic comedies -- and this is a likable one -- fate will eventually intervene.


A few years after the aborted date, the couple who set them up is now married and have a daughter named Sophie. Separately, Holly and Messer remain friends with them but after the couple is suddenly killed in a car accident, Holly and Messer are given custody of the baby.

They quickly reject the idea of raising a baby together but agree to accept the responsibility for a short time as they search for a better solution. After interviewing relatives of the deceased parents, they decide none of them would be suitable, so Holly and Messer decide to take care of the baby and move in together. Slowly, the animosity begins to fade and they discover that they may have feelings for one another.

Like many other romantic comedies where opposites attract, Holly and Messser have very little in common. Holly owns a gourmet food store and Messer (as he is known to his friends) works as a technical director for a major basketball team. Holly is uptight and organized while Messer is laid-back and irresponsible. So it’s a surprise when their friends set them up on a date at all, but comedies like this do require a certain suspension of disbelief.

“Life as We Know It” may sound like the stereotypical romantic comedy but it has several solid features including the comedy. Although some of the comedy is simply potty humor (like Sophie's going to the bathroom in one of Messer’s prized baseball caps), there are a few creative bits.

Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel are nicely cast. Both of their characters are likable and relatable. Although the material is sometimes tired and formulaic, the star’s chemistry is enough to compensate for the film’s weaknesses. There are also a few solid supporting actors in this film including Josh Lucas and Melissa McCarthy.

“Life as we Know It” was directed by former “Everwood” writer and producer Greg Berlanti, who uses a lot of sunlight and light colors. Although the plot has some dark elements (including the death of Sophie’s parents), “Life” is light-hearted fare that doesn’t try to break the romantic comedy mold.

Unfortunately, "Life" has one misplaced scene where the two main characters get high together. Holly and Messer find marijuana in the deceased couple's home and bake it into brownies. They then feel the effects of the drug and spend time watching one of Sophie’s favorite television programs. The scene is out of place and it plays out in a predictably lame fashion.

“Life as We Know It” is a solid date movie for people looking for a few laughs.


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