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Scarecrow on Seattle: LIFE OR SOMETHING LIKE IT

For the past few years, Scarecrow Video has been contributing reviews of movies made in the Pacific Northwest to the Seattle Office of Film + Music's e-newsletter. We're now proud to be able to share these reviews on our site as well.





Life or Something Like It (2002)
The cliché-ridden Life or Something Like It begins with Lanie Kerrigan (Angelina Jolie) lying on an operating table, fighting for life while in the middle of an adolescent flashback: the shame of wearing glasses, her family's cruel taunts of "Pudge," the sadness of watching a boy she likes walk right past her. Cut to the present day and her morning jog past Queen Anne's premier prom/wedding/postcard photo spot Kerry Park. Lanie now has a seemingly perfect life, from her Stepford Wife hairdo to her career as a successful TV journalist. She's even engaged to a Seattle Mariner, and there are some nice scenes inside Safeco Field as she and The Moose cheer him on. Lanie works at KQMO (a cleverly transformed KOMO 4), where we learn she's up for a national reporting job, the next step in her carefully constructed life plan. To prepare for the big time, her boss pairs her with a rugged but professional cameraman named Pete (Edward Burns). Pete has shaggy hair and wears flannel, so naturally she hates his unrefined ways. If you've seen more than one romantic comedy you can likely recite along with their first exchange: "You're disgusting!" "You're uptight!" You get the idea. One day the bickering twosome interview homeless psychic Prophet Jack (Tony Shalhoub, who does more quality acting in his first scene than Jolie does in the entire film). He predicts it will hail, the Seahawks will win, and Lanie will die next Thursday. Of course the first two seemingly improbable events occur, sending Lanie in to a life examining rebellion. In her professional life it means leading a group of striking Metro drivers at Ryerson Base in a motivational version of "I Can't Get No Satisfaction." Personally, it involves blasting Social Distortion (while wearing the band's T-shirt) and eating Oreos. It also, you guessed it, drives her right into Pete's arms. The new couple spend the majority of the remaining run time hanging out at the Fun Forest and walking around Alki while Lanie frets about whether or not she's about to die. Will she pull through to get the man and her dream job? I'm sure you'll know the answers long before the credits roll. Life or Something Like It feels like a failed TV pilot, and the clunky dialogue made me increasingly annoyed as the plot wore on. But Seattle looks lovely in it, and I'll give the filmmakers credit for featuring more of the city (and less of Vancouver) than other recent major studio productions have. The only thing that made the experience remotely worthwhile was the presence of awesome KOMO weatherman/local treasure Steve Pool.
--Jen Koogler


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