Life or Something Like It
- compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2002 1 Jan
In director Steven Herek's
Online critic Phil Boatwright is ecstatic, calling the film "delightful and totally engaging. [It] reminds us to live every day as if it's the last (which in itself is a marvelous instruction). It also suggests that it is a mistake to let our career alone define who we are. The script is smart, the direction focused and the fable-like premise thought provoking. This is a good movie."
Bob Smithouser (Focus on the Family), Tom Snyder (Movieguide), and John Adair (Preview) agree that premarital sex and several obscenities are problems. But they also agree with the film's message that "family and personal relationships are more important than having a high-powered career." Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) writes, "In the midst of building our careers and looking to succeed in our chosen professions, we can easily have a tendency to gauge our success by using the wrong measuring stick. God would have us remember what is truly important."
But according to Steven D. Greydanus (Decent Films), Lanie may not really be learning anything: "Once her eyes have been opened … she begins asking questions about [her relationship with her fiancé] that apparently never occurred to her before, such as: 'What binds us together? What are our shared beliefs, our values? What's going to keep us together ten, twenty, thirty years from now?' Fine questions … but they never get asked about her new relationship with Pete."
Douglas Downs (Christian Spotlight) writes, "I was amazed at how many pre-teen and teenage girls were in the audience swallowing these phony messages about life."
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' review has nothing good to say about its craftsmanship. "In Herek's hands, it all boils down to romantic fluff. The contrived situations that drive this film make the positive direction the plot takes seem banal and unavoidable." The reviewer argues that Lanie's promotion is implausible, because she "loses all objectivity as a reporter." He also points to alarmingly obvious product placements, which "amount to blatant commercials."
One character sums up the film's message by referring to an old proverb: "Someone once said, live every day as if it will be your last." Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) retorts, "Not just someone once said that. Everyone once said it, over and over again, although
Lisa Schwarzbaum (Entertainment Weekly) says the movie's title is meaningless. "