This would-be screwball/romantic comedy may suffer from a quaint, square premise and lifeless dialogue, but the true crime is that no one involved in the production -- not director Stephen Herek nor the forever-promising Angelina Jolie -- found a way to breathe life into the moribund enterprise. The title is as adventurous as Life or Something Like It gets; otherwise, it's as bland and uninvolving as the poster art indicates, a star vehicle devoid of energy, personality, or indeed, a star. For her first bid at romantic leading lady status, Jolie seems to have faithfully studied the canon of A-list romantic comedy queens: At various times in the film, she tries to adopt the hard edge of Michelle Pfeiffer, the quizzical charm of Julia Roberts, and the chewy, mushy vulnerability of Meg Ryan, all to little effect. Her Lanie Kerrigan character remains as brittle and unapproachable at the end as she did at the beginning, save for one moderately entertaining (though completely illogical) sequence in which she cranks up the stereo, pigs out on junk food, and channels her punky high-school self. It doesn't help that she's cast opposite Edward Burns, less an actor than a professional line reader. Meanwhile, Herek doesn't seem to know what he wants out of any given scene, and the retrograde, anti-feminist script -- we're told in no uncertain terms that a woman can't have both a successful career and a passionate love life -- just continues in autopilot mode, with little defining emphasis from one bland moment to the next. Too professionally shot to be called a debacle, Life or Something Life It is all too willing to stake its claim in the world of soft, predictable, and utterly uninspired formula filmmaking.
by Michael Hastings review