Define Life
Life or Something Like it
Review by Ross Anthony

Beat by beat, this film takes a ride on the durable romantic-comedy formula. In spite of that, (Lanie) Jolie and (Pete) Burns still find a chemistry, a rhythm, a strong momentum with which to stir their hearts and their audiences.

Lanie's fast-paced professional life zips along the fast track to newscaster famedom. But the oil thins after a few abrasive sparks fly between herself and her jeans-wearing, Life or Something Like itrelaxed, on-location cameraman played by Edward Burns. The two are attracted to each other chemically, but repulsed by each other's lifestyles. The result: many fun, sharp-tongued stabs and pranks.

Lanie (angrily) "You turned my piece into a joke!"

Pete (rationalizes), "It was about a comedy club!"

Into this static electricity comes a homeless prophet who tells Lanie that she will die after one week. The news prompts Lanie into a keen self-reflection that takes the rest of the film to play out.

Contrived at first, the "lets get everyone up and singing some old rock tune" segment eventually warms up and yes, pleases audiences. Though I am not a Stockard Channing fan, her moment in the camera will blow you away. Few words - great facial communication.

Burns is also good, but Jolie and director Stephen Herek are squarely responsible for the sincere energy that gives this soul-searcher something magic to find - if even along the beaten path.

In fact, teetering precisely on the midway marker between an A- and a B+, I'm letting the shameless product placement drop the grade into the strong B+ category.

Audiences are paying top dollar for films; they shouldn't be subjected to advertisement (at least not from the larger studios).

  • Life or Something Like it. Copyright © 2002. Rated PG-13.
  • Starring Angelina Jolie, Edward Burns, Tony Shalhoub, Stockard Channing.
  • Directed by Stephen Herek.
  • Screenplay by John Scott Shepherd and Dana Stevens.
  • Produced by Arnon Milchan, John Davis, Chi-Li Wong, Toby Jaffe at Regency/20th Fox.

Grade..........................B+ (Strong)

Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:04:57 PDT