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Fox Home Entertainment presents
Lanie: I met a homeless guy and he had a vision.
DVD ReviewWhat would you do if you knew that you had only one week left to live? Would you right the wrongs in your life, realize that love is something not to be missed and spend your remaining days with someone who truly cares for you? Or, perhaps you would follow the trappings of a predictable screenplay and change your life to fit the needs of genre conventions, as Stephen Herek does with Life or Something Like It…. Unfortunately, Herek turns in one of the most disappointing movie experiences of the year.
The city of Seattle is falling in love with Lanie Kerrigan (Jolie) and, hey, why shouldn't they? She is an increasingly popular television reporter with a chance at stardom and a network job, her boyfriend is a baseball star with the hometown Mariners, and she has the perfect apartment and friends. In other words, who wouldn't want to be Lanie? But life isn't as perfect for Lanie as it could be, after she delivers a story covering a local homeless man (Shaloub) in which he prophesizes Lanie's death. Enter Pete (Burns), a gruff cameraman with a certain moral flexibility that Lanie detests—if only (of course) there weren't some underlying romance issues.
The largest fault of Life Or Something Like It… is that it never takes the daring chances offered by the situations it creates in the plot. When Lanie is given the opportunity for her big break, is there any doubt that she will rise above everything and succeed with Pete by her side? If you are having trouble answering this question, please crawl out from under your rock and enjoy civilization. The picture feels too preoccupied with cute moments that will make us realize that Lanie and Pete are perfect for each other, that the issues that deserve to be brought to the front, including, Lanie's dealings with her family, are passed over for more light-hearted fare.
Though the film suffers from a poorly written script, the performances are terrific across the board. Jolie is, as expected, perfect in her first conventional romantic comedy. Her ability to effectively portray Lanie's beliefs and dilemmas in spite of a poor script is perhaps the high point of the film. Equally fine is Burns, who shows more charisma here than he has in his previous efforts, which helps generate some truly energetic chemistry on screen.
Life or Something Like It… could have been a better effort had it not played the genuinely intriguing central premise so safely. The idea of fate, death, and love blending together with appealing characters is perhaps the perfect formula for an original and enjoyable motion picture. Stephen Herek's film, however, goes for cookie cutter romantic comedy standards, creating a disappointing love story.
Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: D+
Image Transfer Review: Life or Something Like It… is offered from Fox in both a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer as well as a severely butchered full-frame version. The widescreen transfer is, of course, the version of choice, though I wish I could be more excited about it. The image is not on par with other recent Fox releases, although it is in no way a poor effort. The generally bright color palette looks fine, but the colors don't pop off the screen as is often the case with the best transfers. Sharpness and detail are fine and the image has a very film-like look. I noticed a few moments of edge enhancement. An average transfer from Fox, but hey, their average transfers are often what other studios dream of.
Image Transfer Grade: B+
Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for Life or Something Like It… is similar to other romantic comedies in that the focal point of the mix resides largely in the center channel. Dialogue sounds fine, with no distortion. The surround, left and right speakers do a fine job of backing up the music used in the film, though they offer nothing more.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu
Scene Access with 21 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, French with remote access
1 Feature/Episode commentary by director Stephen Herek
Extras Review: A commentary track by director Stephen Herek is the single extra feature. Herek does a nice job, though his comments never really offer any insight into the film. He discusses the numerous locations used in the film as well as his admiration for the cast and crew, but the track suffers from pauses throughout. In fact, I had to double check to make sure I had the track on at the start as he drops out less than a few minutes into the feature.
Extras Grade: C+
Final CommentsWith a terrific pair of performances from Jolie and Burns, it is difficult to state that Life or Something Like It… is completely unworthy of praise, though the work of the lead actors comes too little too late. The video and audio portions are fine, but the only special feature is a slightly lackluster commentary.
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