Life Lacks Extra Dimension
- Tuesday, March 12, 2002
Life or Something Like It - PG-13
Best for: Mature teens and adults will enjoy it the most.
What it's about: Lanie Kerrigan (Angelina Jolie) seemingly has everything. She's a feature reporter at a Seattle television station and is under consideration for a major network position. She's also engaged to a baseball superstar (Christian Kane) and leads the "perfect" life.
Lanie, sent to cover a homeless man (Tony Shalhoub) whose prophecies come true, is shocked when he tells Lanie that she isn't going to get the network job and that she'll die the following week. After seeing his other predictions come true, Lanie is convinced, so she takes a few days to reexamine her life and relationships. When she turns to her co-worker and former fling (Ed Burns) for support, she ends up gaining more than just a listening ear. Stockard Channing plays another media diva.
The good: You might feel good walking out of the theater after this movie, but the feeling will fade as the movie's flaws become more apparent. Jolie does a good job of portraying a media prima donna who realizes just how empty and vapid her "perfect" world really is. She adequately grapples with her personal relationships (distant father, troubled sister, indifferent fiancé) and wrestles with the homeless man's prophecy. Burns seizes the opportunity to show Lanie a different side of herself and ends up falling in love. The witty dialogue and clever retorts reminded me of what used to work in all of those old-fashioned romantic comedies -- chemistry between interesting characters in an entertaining script. This is a lighthearted story that will leave you with a smile, reflecting on who and what is important to you.
The not-so-good: Life is not meant to be a serious evaluation of life or personal relationships, but when I walked out, I kept feeling like there was something lacking in Jolie's character. If you knew you were going to die, wouldn't your spiritual destiny be sort of important to you? I'm not trying to "super-spiritualize" the situation, but this is a story about superficial life in a superficial world. Yes, she makes some life-changing decisions for herself and chooses the personally rewarding path instead of the career lined with incredible opportunities. But instead of more depth in Lanie's character (that could have easily been brought out in a few lines), we get a typically happy ending that makes everybody feel good but doesn't leave you with much substance.
Offensive language or behavior: Several uses of profanity. One scene shows a drunk Lanie leading a group of people in a protest. Another scene shows her smoking a cigarette.
Sexual situations: Some sexual dialogue. A couple is shown kissing and going to bed together, then waking up and leaving for work. No nudity, but a few scenes of people in their underwear.
Violence: A man is cornered and a gunshot is heard, but no one is shown being shot. A hospital patient's stomach bleeds through a gown.
Parental advisory: By today's standards this is a mild romantic comedy with lots of witty one-liners, likable characters and a story that shows how a woman who seems to have everything finds meaning in her life. But the sexual discussions (and scene) and adult issues make it for mature teens and adults only.
Bottom line: I took my college-age daughter and her girlfriend to see this with me, and we all agreed it was entertaining and enjoyable. It's a decent story about a superficial woman coming to terms with her life and facing death, but in the end, the story seemed two-dimensional. Without a heavenly perspective or Godly purpose to life, I guess you could safely say that all that you're left with is life, or something like it.
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