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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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Bernard of Clairvaux: Man of the century! Woman of the century! You see such terms applied to so many today—“golfer of the century,” “composer of the century,” “right tackle of the century”—that the line no longer has any punch. But Western Europe's “man of the twelfth century,” without doubt or controversy, has to be Bernard of Clairvaux. Adviser of popes, preacher of the Second Crusade, defender of the faith, healer of a schism, reformer of a monastic Order, Scripture scholar, theologian and eloquent preacher: any one of these titles would distinguish an ordinary man. Yet Bernard was all of these—and he still retained a burning desire to return to the hidden monastic life of his younger days. 
<p>In the year 1111, at the age of 20, Bernard left his home to join the monastic community of Citeaux. His five brothers, two uncles and some 30 young friends followed him into the monastery. Within four years a dying community had recovered enough vitality to establish a new house in the nearby valley of Wormwoods, with Bernard as abbot. The zealous young man was quite demanding, though more on himself than others. A slight breakdown of health taught him to be more patient and understanding. The valley was soon renamed Clairvaux, the valley of light. </p><p>His ability as arbitrator and counselor became widely known. More and more he was lured away from the monastery to settle long-standing disputes. On several of these occasions he apparently stepped on some sensitive toes in Rome. Bernard was completely dedicated to the primacy of the Roman See. But to a letter of warning from Rome, he replied that the good fathers in Rome had enough to do to keep the Church in one piece. If any matters arose that warranted their interest, he would be the first to let them know. </p><p>Shortly thereafter it was Bernard who intervened in a full-blown schism and settled it in favor of the Roman pontiff against the antipope. </p><p>The Holy See prevailed on Bernard to preach the Second Crusade throughout Europe. His eloquence was so overwhelming that a great army was assembled and the success of the crusade seemed assured. The ideals of the men and their leaders, however, were not those of Abbot Bernard, and the project ended as a complete military and moral disaster. </p><p>Bernard felt responsible in some way for the degenerative effects of the crusade. This heavy burden possibly hastened his death, which came August 20, 1153.</p> American Catholic Blog One of the things that we need to remember is that we’re preaching Jesus, not the institutional Church. It’s easy to get caught up in the rules and regulations of the institution and forget that we are saved not by the Church but by the person of Jesus or the Church as the body of Christ.

 
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