Life or Something Like It

"Good"

Life or Something Like It Review


Like a gift-wrapped tennis racquet, director Stephen Herek's Life or Something Like It reveals most of its secrets with the packaging. The contrived tagline of "Destiny Is What You Make Of It" screams "Feel Good Movie," and sure enough a brief tour of Herek's resume uncovers dreamers (Mr. Holland's Opus), overachievers (Rock Star) and time-traveling prophets bearing the benevolent message, "Be excellent to each other" (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure).

But I like Herek - a sort of populist Cameron Crowe - because he specializes in dreams and dreamers, yet still understands enough about pacing and characterization to prevent his films from drifting off into the stratosphere before they reach their natural conclusion. He may be light, fluffy and conventional, but his films contain an unforeseen element of stability and (as a result) respectability.

Life seems that much better with a particularly radiant Angelina Jolie in the lead role of Lanie Kerrigan, a Seattle newscaster who's being considered for a position on a Today-style national morning show in New York City. On a whim, Lanie asks a popular street urchin, Prophet Jack (Tony Shalhoub), if she'll get the job, and he informs her that she won't ... not because she lacks talent, but because she's destined to die in a week.

What follows is a well-traveled path of personal analysis and change, life alterations and monumental decisions made by a girl who believes she's in the home stretch. Since the opening scene shows Lanie on the surgeon's table, we're already aware of the outcome to a certain extent. But as the film progresses, it becomes less and less about Jack's prediction, and more about Lanie's effort to prevent its fulfillment. If she happens to find love along the way with the handsome cameraman she once shunned (Edward Burns), so be it.

Life may be pre-packaged goodness, but it's served warm by a director comfortably basking in the glow of his preferred genre. As in his previous films, Herek coaxes fine performances from his entire cast. Burns may be a one-trick pony, but his trick serves this story well. Shalhoub is even permitted one scene to convince us Jack is eccentric, but not irrational. It's a welcome attempt to sidestep what could have been a generic portrayal.

And then there's Jolie, who's dazzling and effervescent in her most carefree, comedic role to date. How beautiful she can be when she loosens up, lets down that unnaturally bleached-blonde hair and behaves like a (gasp!) 25-year-old. Without the baggage of being "Angelina," the star finally glows brightly. In her hands, Herek's latest dream quest becomes a celebration of life... or something like it.

The DVD includes a commentary track from Herek (and that's it!).

A party... or something like it.



Life or Something Like It

Facts and Figures

Run time: 103 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th April 2002

Box Office USA: $14.4M

Box Office Worldwide: $16.9M

Budget: $40M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: 20th Century Fox, Regency Enterprises

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 28%
Fresh: 34 Rotten: 87

IMDB: 5.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Lanie Kerrigan, as Pete, as Jack, as Cal Cooper, as Andrea, Lisa Thornhill as Gwen, as Deborah Connors, as Dennis, as Vin, as Mark Laughlin

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

After the formulaic thrills of The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, Marvel's Avengers were...

Son of Saul Movie Review

Son of Saul Movie Review

From Hungary, this year's Oscar-winning foreign film is a remarkably fresh take on the Holocaust...

Demolition Movie Review

Demolition Movie Review

With its darkly emotive themes and brittle humour, this well-made drama by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas...

Bastille Day Movie Review

Bastille Day Movie Review

An attempt to muscle in on Luc Besson's Taken-style of thriller, this is an odd...

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises...

Jane Got a Gun Movie Review

Jane Got a Gun Movie Review

With its grindingly low-key tension and unusual perspectives, this Western has a chance to revamp...

Criminal Movie Review

Criminal Movie Review

Almost criminally entertaining, this preposterous thriller mixes buckets of humour and emotion into the violent,...

Advertisement
The Jungle Book Movie Review

The Jungle Book Movie Review

Using remarkably photorealistic animation, this remake of the 1967 Disney classic is warm and enjoyable,...

Eye in the Sky Movie Review

Eye in the Sky Movie Review

Almost forensic in its approach, this smart thriller explores a drone strike from a variety...

Midnight Special Movie Review

Midnight Special Movie Review

Gifted director Jeff Nichols takes on another genre in his fourth film with actor Michael...

Boulevard Movie Review

Boulevard Movie Review

This dark, introspective drama hinges on one of Robin Williams' final film performances before his...

The Huntsman: Winter's War Movie Review

The Huntsman: Winter's War Movie Review

Aside from success at the box office, there was nothing about 2012's rather uneven fantasy...

Black Mountain Poets Movie Review

Black Mountain Poets Movie Review

It's fairly obvious that the cast and crew began making this film with only the...

Victoria Movie Review

Victoria Movie Review

One of the most breathtaking films of the year, this ambitious story shifts from a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.