Life Or Something Like It

Consumer alert: Not since UNFORGETTABLE kept Linda Fiorentino under wraps in a shapeless lab coat has there been a film so insensitive to the needs of its audience. An uneasy mix of four-hankie tearjerker and surreal romantic comedy (co-written by JOE SOMEBODY miscreant John Scott Shepherd), its one big idea is to imprison ├╝berbabe Angelina Jolie under...read more

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Reviewed by Steve Simels
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Consumer alert: Not since UNFORGETTABLE kept Linda Fiorentino under wraps in a shapeless lab coat has there been a film so insensitive to the needs of its audience. An uneasy mix of four-hankie tearjerker and surreal romantic comedy (co-written by JOE SOMEBODY miscreant John Scott Shepherd), its one big idea is to imprison überbabe Angelina Jolie under a ridiculous, bleached-blonde '60s hairdo. Driven TV newswoman Lanie Kerrigan (Jolie) works for a local Seattle station and is convinced her life couldn't be better. She has the perfect job (as the film starts, a promotion to network looms); the perfect boyfriend, rather dim-bulb Seattle Mariner Cal (studly Christian Kane); the perfect house; and the perfect body — that last assessment seconded by colleague Andrea (Melissa Errico), who exists primarily to join Lanie in rather compulsive sessions at the gym. Unfortunately, Lanie's perfect life is suddenly upended when she's partnered with ace cameraman Pete (Edward Burns), a free spirit who seriously irritates Lanie (and vice versa). It almost goes without saying that they're ex-lovers: In a movie like this, the least probable characters are always ex-lovers. Even worse, Lanie and Pete soon encounter Prophet Jack (Tony Shalhoub), a homeless guy who makes a living dispensing street-corner predictions; he casually lets it drop that Lanie is going to die in a week. When some of his less portentous oracular pronouncements turn out to be accurate, Lanie panics. She stops showering, pulls out old Social Distortion albums she hasn't listened to in years, dumps her boyfriend and gets seriously drunk while on a location assignment, in which condition she's inspired to lead a group of striking transit workers in an impromptu rendition of the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction." Under normal circumstances, it might be giving something away to say that Lanie eventually does not die and realizes that Pete is the once and future man of her dreams. But the truth of the matter is that, given the thoroughly manipulative, red-herring plot twists that get her to the happy ending, most audience members will have ceased to care about whether she lives or dies long before the matter is settled onscreen. The cast does about as well as it can given the material; Jolie and Burns have chemistry and Shalhoub is genuinely funny. Stockard Channing is simply brilliant as a Barbara Walters-style veteran of the network news wars, despite the criminally brief screen time she's allotted.

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  • Released: 2002
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: Consumer alert: Not since UNFORGETTABLE kept Linda Fiorentino under wraps in a shapeless lab coat has there been a film so insensitive to the needs of its audience. An uneasy mix of four-hankie tearjerker and surreal romantic comedy (co-written by JOE SOME… (more)

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