ninth symphony films - movie reviews

LIFE OR SOMETHING LIKE IT (2002)


DIRECTOR  -  chuck russell

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  drama

LENGTH  -  99 minutes

RELEASED  -  26 april 2002

DISTRIBUTOR  -  20th century fox

OFFICIAL SITE  -  life or something...

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  unknown
life or something like it - a shot from the film

BUY THE DVD:

buy the dvd from life or something like it at amazon.com

buy the dvd from life or something like it at amazon.com


SYNOPSIS:
lanie kerrigan's perfect world starts unraveling after a homeless street seer tells her that she leads a meaningless existence and will die the following week.




MOVIE FACT:
the filmmakers used the komo-tv studios in seattle as sets - altering the logo to "kqmo-tv" - and many komo personalities make cameo appearances, among them dan lewis, margo myers and steve pool.


MOVIE FOTOS:

picture from life or something like it

picture from life or something like it

picture from life or something like it



RATING:


two out of four possible stars

With a light dose of romance and a smattering of comedy, Life Or Something Like It seeks to showcase some fairly intense ideas (such as death and true love) without placing a lot of effort into their execution. The film as a whole is like a nice warm cup of decaffeinated coffee. It has all the familiarity of a morning cup, with none of the bite. The story is a standard romantic comedy, without enough comedy in it. And there's not enough romance either. In fact, the lack of romance in the picture probably stems from a want of chemistry between Angelina Jolie and Edward Burns. Now, both of these actors are beautiful and have sex appeal in their own right, but together on the screen, there's not a lot between them. In fact, close to the end of the picture, during the "I've always loved you scene," it's quite hard to imagine a long-standing crush existing for either of these characters. Because of the light dose of romance, viewers must be satisfied with the story itself and need to entrust the peripheral characters in filling the void.

First and foremost, a romantic comedy should have romance. Love is fifty percent of the genre. Like other recent romantic comedies, Life Or Something Like It seems to have been whitewashed of any real originality. The creators of this film (or, more likely, the producers behind it) sought to bring as large an audience as possible to the film, and to do that, they needed to make the movie as unintelligent as possible. This is not to say that the film doesn't present some fairly significant ideas, but their presentation quite simply isn't that interesting. The dialogue in the film is flat in many scenes, and those scenes don't pack a lot of punch. The conclusion to the film is nothing short of inevitable. But in truth, the ending of the film, readily apparent or not, did not have to be such a mistake. Knowing that Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks will end up together at the end of whatever romantic comedy they may be starring in, can rest somewhere on the back burner if the journey to that ending is entertaining.

But in Life, the idea of knowing that the movie will end in a satisfactory manner becomes a burden. All of the machinations that the characters must endure on the road to ultimate happiness have been tried before. If ever the word standard could be applied to a film, Life Or Something Like It would take the prize. And it could be argued that this feeling of familiarity is the film's largest triumph. Audience members looking for a purely standard no-frills romantic comedy will find what they desire in this film.

But it stands to reason that viewers who are fans of this specific genre would demand more from this movie, likely having seen movies of this type before. In series television, part of what keeps viewers coming back to their television set at the same time each week is the promise that whatever problems their beloved characters encounter will be righted by the end of the hour. But feature films, on the other hand, have exactly the opposite responsibility. Ingenuity and fresh ideas are what keep the film business rolling in dough. Setting aside franchises like James Bond and a few established horror series, audience members enjoy seeing something that they haven't seen before. And even James Bond must come up with a few newfangled card tricks for each film.

But through all the mediocrity swimming throughout this film, seeing Angelina Jolie tackle a part that allows her to show a different face to the audience is commendable. Though in picking this role it might be worthy to wonder why she picked this film in which to change her stripes. Most of her recent film roles have been women with somewhat more running around in the brain department than her character, lanie, in this film. but though "Lanie Kerrigan" might not be the strongest example of what Jolie is capable of as an actress, her transformation into a shallow and self-conscious news reporter is more complete than just a change in wardrobe and hair. Jolie should be congratulated in her ability to make even an uninteresting character believable. The dialogue she and Ed Burns shot back and forth throughout the film resembled the ordinary, but Jolie's performance was convincing. Once her hair and lips got out of the way.

And her lack of chemistry with Burns notwithstanding, it is evident that Jolie worked just as hard as she always has in playing her any of her characters. Though her performance alone is not worth the price of admission, it is a buoy to an otherwise bland film. And strangely enough, Ed Burns seemed more at home in this role than he has in many of his past films. Oscar won't be calling his name for his portrayal as Pete, the strangely loveable but disagreeable cameraman, but Burns seemed to inject everything that was possible into the role.

But in considering the talent of these actors, it is hard not to chastise both of them for taking part in a film that just screams innocuous entertainment. Like the screenwriter, Jolie and Burns seemed to have left their creativity at the door for the duration of shooting this picture. Perhaps it was the potential salaries each would garner from their work in this film, or the lack of better material to choose from, but each of these actors is capable of more than just a "credible" performance. It is perhaps ironic that one of the most entertaining performances in the film shows up at the door of one of the supporting actors. Though his character isn't inspiring, Tony Shalhoub's role as the clairvoyant "Prophet Jack" is the one element of this film that is worth the price of admission. But other reasons to see this film are not as forthcoming. While fans of Jolie and Burns have nothing to fear, viewers needing more than average filmmaking will have an easy time passing up this film.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.


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