Life Or Something Like It

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Movie Review by Neil Ryan

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Edward Burns, Tony Shalhoub, Christian Kane, James Gammon
Director: Stephen Herek

This film has been slated in early dispatches by some critics. Unfairly so, I would suggest. True, both stars (Angelina Jolie and Ed Burns) have appeared in better quality films before and will do so again in the future, but LIFE OR SOMETHING LIKE IT is far from the worst film I’ve seen this year and it makes for pleasant and occasionally amusing, if standard, rom-com fare.

Jolie stars as Lanie Kerrigan, a reporter for a Seattle-based breakfast television show who enjoys a love-hate relationship with her cameraman Pete (Burns). When the two of them are required to record a brief feature on homeless ‘prophet’ Jack (Tony Shalhoub) they ask him for a few predictions. He duly obliges with some weather and sports forecasts and then casually tells Lanie that she only has a week to live. Lanie’s mild disquiet at this revelation gradually increases as Jack’s other predictions prove to be unerringly accurate. Now obsessed with the scruffy street psychic’s portentous claim Lanie attempts to reassess her life and ambitions. She, unsuccessfully, seeks solace from her family and alcohol before disassembling her hitherto carefully plotted life plan and placing her trust and welfare in the care of the deceptively easygoing Pete. Will Lanie manage to stave off her own demise and find happiness whilst simultaneously learning something about herself, life, and the metaphysics of chance and fate? Well, what do you think?

But let’s not quibble. Despite the join-the-dots plot and the occasional moments that misfire (the biggest audience laughs were inspired by cringingly sycophantic product placement and the unnecessarily melodramatic ‘death’ scene) LIFE OR SOMETHING LIKE IT is wholly deserving of commendation up to and including the level of ‘really rather okay’. Besides, Jolie is a magnetic screen presence and any right-minded hetero male would lump an extra mark on the rating for her alone. Unfortunately that same straight-hitting male would then be forced to deduct said mark because of the peroxide perversion that Jolie hosts atop her head.

3 out of 6 stars