Life or Something Like It

Bomb Rating: 

This is one of those movies where the main character, in this case television reporter Lanie Kerigan (Angelina Jolie), gives a little speech at the end to explain what the movie is all about so that the audience members who fell asleep or had to be resuscitated after shoving popcorn up their nose would not leave the theater in confusion. For the rest of us, it's like listening to the stewardess explain how to unfasten the incredibly complicated airplane belt buckle for the umpteenth time. I mean, wouldn't that time be better spent giving a rudimentary airplane flying lesson in case I have to take control of the plane in an emergency? Also, if I tie the ends of my pants in a knot and jump out of the plane, will they provide enough wind resistance to give me a chance at survival?

The movie's lesson is: "Live every day as if it were your last." I decided to test-drive this little morsel of profundity when I passed the cute ticket taker on my way out of the theater, which got me brought up on charges. So as far as I'm concerned, director Stephen Herek can take his smarmy life message and shove it so far up his rectum he'll be wearing his proctologist.

Lanie goes all Dr. Phil on us after doing a story on Prophet Jack in the streets of Seattle. He predicts the score of a football game and that Lanie is going to die within a week. Initially, this doesn't freak her out until Jack's predictions start coming true and she begins to believe. This leads to all sorts of life adjustments like dropping her boyfriend and hanging out with Pete (Edward Burns), the cameraman she once boinked in a drunken stupor.

Two things bothered me in the extreme about this film. First of all, it's one of those movies that tries to offset the inevitable box-office disappointment with soundtrack sales. Lanie breaks into a round of "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones with a bunch of striking bus workers. One imagines the script read something like: "Lanie starts singing [obtain rights for ?] with striking workers." In flashbacks to Lanie's childhood, Herek shows her watching Marilyn Monroe on the tube, the obvious inspiration for her look. Of course, Lanie is about 25, which means that the little flashback took place circa 1982, which means that Lanie should really have modeled her appearance on Olivia Newton John. But, I guess this is just a movie, or something like one.

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