‘Life as We Know It’ is meaningless

By Jennifer Hirsch

“Life as We Know It”

Director: Greg Berlanti

Starring: Katherine Heigl, Josh… “Life as We Know It”

Director: Greg Berlanti

Starring: Katherine Heigl, Josh Duhamel, Josh Lucas

Warner Bros. Pictures

Grade: C-

Boy meets girl. Boy disgusts girl. Boy, by the end of two hours, makes girl fall in love with him.

This is the premise of nearly every Katherine Heigl movie to date. “Life as We Know It” — the most recent addition to the Heigl romantic-comedy canon — is no different.

The film is no more than a compilation of her previous three productions, each tellingly less successful than the last. We have baby complications a la Knocked Up (2007), the hopeless search for Mr. Right a la 27 Dresses (2008) and the abrasive mannerisms of a male co-star a la The Ugly Truth (2009).

In “Life as We Know It,” Holly (Heigl) and Messer (Josh Duhamel) are thrown together to care for an orphaned child after their mutual best friends die in a car accident. As time passes, caring for the baby softens Holly’s controlling personality and puts Messer’s desire for eternal bachelorhood on the back burner.

The result? Trust me, you already know.

Despite the film’s predictability, the two hours aren’t a complete waste of time. Duhamel, somewhat of a new face in the rom-com male lead role — nobody actually remembers “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!” — is a breath of fresh air after years of the same performances by a smarmy Matthew McConaughey or an aging Hugh Grant. His face isn’t just nice to look at — he actually manages to bring some hint of chemistry to the screen.

The same cannot be said for Heigl, who year after year continues unconvincingly to play a gorgeous woman unable to land a boyfriend. Frankly, I’m tired of her gig as the Type A damsel in distress whose performances exhibit little to no connection with her co-stars.

Of course, Heigl has come a long way since her iconic buttocks-baring debut in the 1993 film “My Father the Hero.” She’s firmly established herself in the genre once dominated by Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, the latter of whom had the grace to walk away from roles more suited to younger Hollywood actresses.

But audiences can only handle so much repetition. Unless Heigl can step beyond her typecast role and recent dubbing as the new diva of Hollywood, I doubt it will be long before the rom-coms oust her for a younger actress.

Critics once lauded her in the role of Dr. Izzie Stevens on Grey’s Anatomy, for which she won both an Emmy and Screen Actors Guild Award. I’d like to see her channel the skill she brought to that character in newer, fuller roles.

By the looks of her profile on IMDb.com, however, it seems 2011 will bring yet another chance for Heigl to solidify her role as queen of the rom-com, this time as an “unemployed lingerie buyer” turned “bounty hunter.”

I’ll pass, and I think you should, too.