Cameron J (br)
/5 - Mediocre. 2. Overall, there are handsome occasions in the cinematography, effective moments in Angelina Jolie's acting, and some endearing heights in Stephen Herek's reasonably charming telling of a reasonably promising premise, whose superficiality is emphasized so intensely by flat writing, an uneven narrative, contrived characterization, and genericisms, all of which reflect a certain laziness that wears down patience, until "Life or Something Like It" collapses as a mediocre romantic comedy-drama that could have done something fresh, but doesn't quite secure decency. Maybe the structure of the film isn't punishing in its dragging, because as things go along, engagement value really does start to pick up, with the thickening of material for Jolie, and of worthy themes and story aspects, but these highlights are never that bright, and they arrive much too late to save this superficial misfire of a promising, but ultimately flat affair. I don't reckon laziness is a huge, infuriating issue, but the fact of the matter is that there's barely all that much inspiration being put into transcending natural shortcomings, even in the direction, which has a certain charm and color, but not really an pace, thus making the overdrawn nature of this uneven and misguided mess all more punishingly palpable. Even David Newman's score is almost embarrassing in its being so blasted generic, but the conventions are far from ending there, because if there are unique aspects of this premise, they are lost amidst the aforementioned trite dialogue, humor, characterization and plotting formula that ultimately leads to a predictability which reflects laziness. If there is some depth to the characterization, that is, of the Lanie Kerrigan lead, then it thrives on Angelina Jolie, because in writing, just about every role feels manufactured, with forced layers to accommodate trite storytelling. What ambitions there are to scripting don't always work, because even though the story takes some somewhat engaging turns, it jars its way there, being too uneven with its theme, progression and, to a certain degree, tone for you to get all that comfortably invested in the story, and its contrived characters. Even the decency is easy to threaten, and John Scott Shepherd's and Dana Stevens' script is certainly threatening in that regard, because even though there are commendable aspects about the acting and storytelling, the writing of this film is consistently flat, with dialogue and even with humor. I've given a little bit of credit to this story concept for its potential for liveliness and intrigue, maybe even a sliver of originality, but that potential is still seriously limited by superficiality's even managing to rear its ugly head into this premise of little consequence, and no potential to transcend decency. The final product all but transcends serious mediocrity, but on the whole, it falls spectacularly flat as a trite and superficial flick that doesn't even carry much weight in concept. There is something a little endearing about this film, and it, largely on the back of Jolie's performance, grows a little more prominent throughout the film's course, resulting in moments of decency, and, really, an obscurity of any major contemptible moments. Of course, the laziness could have completely overshadowed this premise's value, were it not for the occasions in which it is broken, at least by Stephen Herek's direction, which occasionally smooths out the transitions between humor and drama, but mostly just keeps up some degree of liveliness that begets some degree of entertainment value, if not charm. The subject matter of this film at least has a potential for freshness, brutally betrayed by genericisms that reflect a laziness which ends up defining much about this flat rom-com-dram, but does not completely obscure the intrigue to a story about a woman coming to terms with an uncertain fate, and with her humanity. This is one of those cases in which the Razzies gave a nod to a lead just for being involved in a bomb of a film, because Jolie is more-or-less the best thing about this film, so much so that she helps in carrying it, and endearing you to a premise that admittedly has some potential. Well, Jolie isn't the only performance worth noting here, with the underused Tony Shalhoub stealing the show at times as a homeless prophet, while Edward Burns proves to be notable only in his being so flat, but it ultimately comes down to a Razzie-nominated performance by Jolie that convinces more than the lovely lead's blonde wig, bringing charm to an unlikably written character, with some moments of dramatic effectiveness that are rare, but still more than this film deserves. Burum has proven himself to be a fairly talented cinematographer, and here, his tastes in soft lighting are mostly used to accentuate the star power of Angelina Jolie, although there are a number of other handsome visuals that Burum anchors, which isn't to say that his photography is the only pretty thing in here to hold your attention. Stephen H. Well, it probably didn't help that he stinks in this film, although he's far from the final product's biggest issue, which isn't to say that there isn't a few things worthy commending, emphasis on "a few". This film really did mark the beginning of the end of Herek's relevance, but hey, at least he had his extensive period of fame, as opposed to poor old Edward Burns, whose career wasn't exactly helped by this film. Wow, you'd think that Herek really is a major box office draw, you know, up until you see that the only big star in this film is Angie Jolie, and bombed. Holland's Opus", the live-action "101 Dalmatians", and "Holy Man". I sure am piling on cheese with this opener, but I don't know if I'm being any cheesier than this film, because, seriously, this is a romantic-comedy by the guy who did "Critters", "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure", "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead", "The Mighty Ducks", 1993's "The Three Musketeers", "Mr. More fitting would have been if Angelina Jolie played, not a reporter, but a weather forecaster, because with lips those bloated, it would rain every day. Man, I love this film's actual title, in all of its sarcastic glory, because it sums up the superficiality in this TV reporter's trying to find the meaning of, not life altogether, but [u]her[/u] rather spoiled life. First there was "Rock Star", and now Stephen Herek is back with "TV News Star"