"Life or Something Like It"
Directed by Stephen Herek.
Written by John Scott Shepherd and Dana Stevens.
Starring Angelina Jolie and Edward Burns.
Release Year: 2002
Review Date: 5/2/02
My cousin Ron called me on my way to the
theater tonight, and I informed him that I was going to check out
this flick. His reaction? “Aw, man, what the hell are you doing?”
I’m sure that he followed this up with something about selling out,
something about not seeing enough action flicks, etc. Then, he went
back to watching “Return of the Jedi” and living his life.
But see, with summer just a few weeks away,
and with bona fide blockbusters two of the next three weekends, I’ve
got plenty of time for adrenaline-juiced action. In the meantime,
I’ve got some Angelina Jolie! In “Life or Something Like It”, Jolie
plays local news personality Lanie Kerrigan, a Seattle on-the-street
reporter that is up for a big promotion—reporting for the
affiliate’s parent station in New York on Today Show rip-off AM
USA. She is driven by her career and is in constant search of
approval from her peers, and is leading a perfect life: she’s
dating a Seattle Mariner, she’s got a ritzy apartment, an incredible
Benz, and is making big cash. But, a homeless fortune teller (Tony
Shalhoub, once again fabulous in relief) informs Lanie during a
broadcast that she is going to die in a week, so in an effort to
make up for being a stuck-up bitch, she spends her final week
figuring out what life is all about with the help of a former lover
named Pete (Edward Burns) that seems to have it all figured out.
No, this plot isn’t that original. And, no,
the movie does nothing truly innovative or earth-shattering during
the course of 100 minutes. Burns is playing himself once again
(I’ll admit that Burns is likable, but man, he dials it in like it
is his job), and the supporting cast is decidedly pedestrian. But,
I have to say, I liked this movie! It just went down real
nice-like. Jolie and Shalhoub don’t have incredible material to
work with but they are very watchable, and maybe because Jolie is
hot I am influenced more by her looks than her lines.
The film moves along briskly and is
reasonably suspense-free; it has some decent laughs and some
beautiful shots of one of my favorite cities, Seattle. Damn, I
really can’t tell you what it is about this flick that is so good,
except that it holds your attention quite well. There are three
things to note with this film:
1) For what might be the first time in movie
history, Seattle is depicted as a bright, sunny place. Over the
course of the seven days in the film, it never once rains (it does
hail once) and it never looks overcast. Now, Seattle does have
weeks like this in real life, so I give a standing ovation to the
filmmakers for finally showing America what Seattle looks like in
2) This film might have the most shameless
promotion of goods & services since the running parody of such items
in “Wayne’s World” and its sequel. Seriously, if you keep your eyes
open (and, this is not even counting the promotion of things at
Safeco Field and during the NFL highlights in the film), you might
see 20 different products that get the seal of approval from
characters in the movie. It made the movie seem much more real than
flicks that glaze over what people like to eat, or drink, or listen
to their music on.
3) I have done the research on this:
according to interviews with members of the MPAA conducted by The
Washington Post last year, every PG-13 film can use the f-word one
time, as long as it is of a non-sexual nature. “Life or Something
Like It” does a great job with its one use, during its money
sequence, where Kerrigan is singing the Rolling Stones’
“Satisfaction” with a bunch of striking union members. This scene
is not worth the price of admission alone, but hey, it feels good!
I’m sorry I can’t tell you why, but I
enjoyed this film. It won’t stick with you for long after you leave
the theater—like a great Chinese dinner—but, you won’t be upset that
you slapped down the cash to see “Life or Something Like It.”
Rating: $9.00 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard