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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Life As We Know It

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

"Life As We Know It" (Warner Bros.) boasts a somewhat sharper-witted script—penned by feature-length first-timers Ian Deitchman and Kristin Rusk Robinson—than the average romantic comedy.

But director Greg Berlanti's thoroughly predictable yarn of opposites attracting and animosity gradually yielding to a very different emotion also showcases a variety of lifestyle choices—and of more impromptu decisions—at variance with traditional morality.

Meeting ugly and butting heads from the start—as we witness in opening scenes set in 2007—are womanizing television director Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel) and successful cafe owner Holly Berenson (Katherine Heigl).

Eric and Holly have been set up by the Novacks (Christina Hendricks and Hayes MacArthur), the soon-to-be happily married couple with whom each is best friends. As their disastrous blind date—during which Eric using his cell phone to arrange a sleepover tryst with another gal as soon as he can get away from Holly—makes painfully clear, however, the Novacks are all these two are ever likely to have in common.

Vignettes of Eric and Holly demonstrating their mutual dislike at social events surrounding the Novacks' wedding and the birth of their daughter, Sophie (played by triplets Alexis, Brynn and Brooke Clagett), carry us forward to the present and to the news that a terrible accident has left Sophie an orphan. Her joint guardians under the terms of the Novacks' wills, it need hardly be said, are her quarrelsome godparents, Eric and Holly.

Their caustic relationship initially keeps the unusual household that results—as the ill-matched duo move into the Novacks' old home and struggle to cope with sudden-onset parenthood—from becoming an objectionable arrangement. But further complications involving the shift in their feelings, as well as Holly's competing interest in Sophie's pediatrician, Sam (Josh Lucas), lead to the crossing of several moral boundaries.

Add to this scenes illustrating Eric's heedless lifestyle and the presence, among the pair's eccentric new-found neighbors, of a homosexual couple, and "Life As We Know It" ends up falling far short of life as it should be.

The film contains brief nongraphic premarital sexual activity, implied casual encounters and cohabitation, an incidental gay relationship, drug use, much sexual and some scatological humor, at least one use of profanity, a couple of rough terms and frequent crude or crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is L—limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.


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Anthony Claret: The "spiritual father of Cuba" was a missionary, religious founder, social reformer, queen’s chaplain, writer and publisher, archbishop and refugee. He was a Spaniard whose work took him to the Canary Islands, Cuba, Madrid, Paris and to the First Vatican Council. 
<p>In his spare time as weaver and designer in the textile mills of Barcelona, he learned Latin and printing: The future priest and publisher was preparing. Ordained at 28, he was prevented by ill health from entering religious life as a Carthusian or as a Jesuit, but went on to become one of Spain’s most popular preachers. </p><p>He spent 10 years giving popular missions and retreats, always placing great emphasis on the Eucharist and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Her rosary, it was said, was never out of his hand. At 42, beginning with five young priests, he founded a religious institute of missionaries, known today as the Claretians. </p><p>He was appointed to head the much-neglected archdiocese of Santiago in Cuba. He began its reform by almost ceaseless preaching and hearing of confessions, and suffered bitter opposition mainly for opposing concubinage and giving instruction to black slaves. A hired assassin (whose release from prison Anthony had obtained) slashed open his face and wrist. Anthony succeeded in getting the would-be assassin’s death sentence commuted to a prison term. His solution for the misery of Cubans was family-owned farms producing a variety of foods for the family’s own needs and for the market. This invited the enmity of the vested interests who wanted everyone to work on a single cash crop—sugar. Besides all his religious writings are two books he wrote in Cuba: <i>Reflections on Agriculture</i> and <i>Country Delights</i>. </p><p>He was recalled to Spain for a job he did not relish—being chaplain for the queen. He went on three conditions: He would reside away from the palace, he would come only to hear the queen’s confession and instruct the children and he would be exempt from court functions. In the revolution of 1868, he fled with the queen’s party to Paris, where he preached to the Spanish colony. </p><p>All his life Anthony was interested in the Catholic press. He founded the Religious Publishing House, a major Catholic publishing venture in Spain, and wrote or published 200 books and pamphlets. </p><p>At Vatican I, where he was a staunch defender of the doctrine of infallibility, he won the admiration of his fellow bishops. Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore remarked of him, "There goes a true saint." At the age of 63, he died in exile near the border of Spain.</p> American Catholic Blog The greatest tragedy of our world is that men do not know, really know, that God loves them. Some believe it in a shadowy sort of way. If they were to really think about it they would soon realize that their belief in God’s love for them is very remote and abstract. Because of this lack of realization of God’s love for them, men do not know how to love God back. —Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 
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