Life as We Know It

October 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Katherine Heigl, Josh Duhamel, Josh Lucas
Directed by: Greg Berlanti (“The Broken Hearts Club”)
Written by: Ian Deitchman (debut) and Kristin Rusk Robinson (debut)

The cuteness factor might be at an all-time high, but with parenthood reduced to montages of changing poopie Pampers and dodging projectile peas, even a pair of the most squeezable baby cheeks can only get “Life as We Know It” so far.

In “Life,” first-time screenwriters Ian Deitchman and Kristin Rusk Robinson try to give the film some emotional substance, but end up padding the narrative with so much predictable nonsense you’ll long for the days when Steve Guttenberg and Tom Selleck were on diaper duty.

After impressing audiences in Judd Apatow’s 2007 comedy “Knocked Up,” Katherine Heigl has since made a handful of regrettably dreadful choices by starring in “27 Dresses,” “The Ugly Truth,” and “Killers.” She looks to find her footing in “Life” playing Holly Berenson, a bakery owner whose life is thrown into a tailspin when her best friends Peter and Alison die in a car accident and leave Holly to raise their only child, Sophie.

If that wasn’t difficult enough, Holly has been named as a co-guardian for Sophie along with Peter and Alison’s other friend Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel), a TV sports director whom she’s only tolerated over the years because they shared Peter and Alison as mutual friends. A bad date the two had years prior was just enough for Holly to recognize their incompatibility.

Now faced with the responsibility of raising a child, the two must learn to get along while living under the same roof and providing a stable home for Sophie (played here by triplets Alexis, Brynn, and Brooke Clagett) all while anticipating surprise visits by a no-nonsense social worker who is watching their every move.

“Life as We Know It,” could have worked if it has simply stayed honest about the situation at hand. Instead of capturing a genuine look at just how difficult raising a child would actually be under these circumstances, director Greg Berlanti (“The Broken Hearts Club”) lets Heigl and Duhamel stir up the schlocky sentiment. “Life” ends up pandering in the most formulaic ways possible and hits all the standard romantic comedy plot points even the average filmgoer could see coming from a mile away.

The Ugly Truth

July 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler, Bree Turner
Directed by: Robert Luketic (“21”)
Written by: Nicole Eastman (debut), Karen McCullah Lutz (“The House Bunny”), Kirsten Smith (“She’s the Man”)

A woman who can’t drag her man to any romantic comedies even if her life depended on it shouldn’t feel he’s ignoring her cinematic needs if that rom-com is anything like “The Ugly Truth.” Truth be told, the movie is down-right deplorable and diluted with cheap jokes and dialogue. Although it attempts to disguise itself as something with a conscious perspective on the chemistry between the opposite sex, the only thing “The Ugly Truth” succeeds in doing is demonstrating why men and women – when looking for love – are as equally annoying.

The three-headed screenwriting monster consisting of Nicole Eastman, Karen McCullah Lutz, and Kirsten Smith might like to believe they’ve written something unique and groundbreaking in terms of the relationship dynamic they’ve set up here. They’re sadly mistaken. “The Ugly Truth” stars Katherine Heigl (“Knocked Up”) as Abby Richter, a overbearing television show producer in Sacramento whose personal and professional life is nudged quite significantly off track when the station’s director hires a controversial color commentator to join the on-air talent.

Mike Chadwick (Gerard Butler), is plucked from his makeshift studio where he hosts a cable access television show, and handed a much grander platform to spout off his aggressive relationship advice to women who can’t seem to get their love lives in order. Don’t have a boyfriend, ladies? Mike’s advice is to shed a few pounds before you become a lonely spinster. Can’t get a second date? You might want to put out during the first.

It’s all unenlightening gibberish passed off as words of wisdom by the screenwriters and “Legally Blonde” director Robert Luketic. At least in “Blonde,” Reese Witherspoon is a heartbroken ditz who learns she can be independent and happy. In “The Ugly Truth,” Heigl is a desperate airhead who starts taking advices from the one guy she should be trying to avoid.

It all becomes very formulaic and predictable as Abby and Mike start spending more time with each other so he can educate her in the ways of seduction. Most of this is done by borrowing from other romantic comedies, some good, some just as pathetic. Nevertheless, Luketic and crew allow “The Ugly Truth” to become unnecessarily vulgar (a scene where Heigl repeats an expletive is merely for shock value and hardly funny) and misogynistic. If this is the route rom-coms are going to start taking, there’s really no reason for date nights anymore.

27 Dresses

January 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Edward Burns
Directed by: Anne Fletcher (“Step Up”)
Written by: Aline Brosh McKenna (“The Devil Wears Prada”)

It’s almost shocking to see that the same screenwriter who was responsible for “The Devil Wears Prada,” a polished and classy female-free-for-all, wrote “27 Dresses.” As much as “Devil” was scathing and enjoyable, “Dresses” is really nothing more than chick-flick leftovers.

Don’t get me wrong. I love me some estrogen-filled entertainment, but not when it’s pre-packaged like the new Katherine Heigl vehicle. Heigl definitely has the comedic chops to keep up in the genre. She proved that last year in the wildly funny “Knocked Up.” She has a panache (almost like a Julia Roberts but without the overbearing glut) and manages to carry a few scenes on her own despite her limited feature film career (anyone remember her in “Under Siege 2”?)

In “Dresses,” Heigl hams it up again as Jane, a woman so obsessed with weddings that she has an entire closet in her apartment dedicated to the 27 of the happiest days of other women’s lives. In each of them, Jane has been a bridesmaid. Okay, let’s get the “always a bridesmaid never a bride” cliché out of the way before we continue.

Never able to say no to a friend who asks her to be a part of her ceremony, Jane has known since she was a little girl that weddings were her true calling. She thinks she might even want to have one of her own if her boss George (Burns) would sweep her off her feet the way all girls dream to be courted in movie land.

When Jane finally gets the nerve to confront George and tell him how she feels, she is undercut by her drop-dead-gorgeous sister Tess (Malin Akerman), who immediately catches George’s attention with a few flirtatious exchanges and fabrications.

Before you know it, Jane is planning her sister’s wedding to the man she wants to marry (or at least go out on a date with). She is so caught up in her love triangle, she blatantly ignores Kevin (Marsden), a persistent lifestyle and style reporter who is interested in her as the subject for his next puffy newspaper article.

As a romantic comedy, there’s not too many hearts fluttering to keep anyone’s interest for long and most of the jokes stay with the safe confines of rehearsal dinners and bouquets. You’ve seen it before in all its formulaic glory, so instead, go out and rent “My Best Friend’s Wedding” again and save yourself from a wasted night. If you do decide you want to see it “Dresses,” consider yourself warned and marked as a born sucker for anything that resembles a sassy rom-com.