Monday, November 8, 2010

Nu metro/Ster Kinekor: Life as we know it

The romantic comedy drama is gradually spiralling down into a pit of irrelevance. While that might seem like a bit of a exaggeration, it does seem plausible when one considers the genre's latest cash cows like Bounty hunter, Ugly truth and a long list of other horribly sub par entries. This decrease in quality (in a genre that isn't known for its greatness) is part due to a lack of original screenplays as well as the use of unimaginative, superficial characters (the type Gerald Butler seems to have become a poster boy for). 

It is for these reasons alone that I was pleasantly surprised by 'Life as we know it', one of the genre's latest entries, starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel. Even though the movie doesn't save the genre, it does settle for an interesting diversion from the obvious rom-com plot, as it deals with the touchy subject of death, as Director Greg Berlanti uses this simple, but quite risky premise as the foundation for this romantic night out. 

"her obvious lack of chemistry with male lead, Josh Duhamel works surprisingly well on screen."

While you might be hard to convince, it manages to work quite well, giving the movie a sense of honesty and relevance not present in most of its modern counterparts. Even though Katherine Heigl once again plays the same stereotyped bookworm, undersexed character she's known for, her obvious lack of chemistry with male lead, Josh Duhamel works surprisingly well on screen. Josh Duhamel (Win a date with Tod Hamilton) is believable as a typical alpha male, without coming across as an over-stereotyped caveman - a rare rom-com achievement that the movie should be applaud for. 

The movie also benefits from its soft approach to humour,complementing the film's more serious subject matter - making it easy for one to reflect on the situations depicted, as you watch the film become more and more predictable (an unpreventable genre staple?). The movie's ensemble cast is also surprisingly funny, helping to lighten the mood in-between some very dark and depressing scenes.

While 'Life as we know it' is by no means revolutionary, I do want to believe that it can be regarded as a tiny flicker of hope that the rom-com genre could improve. Sue me for being optimistic.

Not convinced that the death of a loved one can work as the premise for a rom-com? I had my doubts as well...

Rating: 2-and-a-half Meerkat Tails