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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 Zaccaria: At the same time that Martin Luther was attacking abuses in the Church, a reformation within the Church was already being attempted. Among the early movers of the Counter-Reformation was Anthony Zaccaria. His mother became a widow at 18 and devoted herself to the spiritual education of her son. He received a medical doctorate at 22 and, while working among the poor of his native Cremona in Italy, was attracted to the religious apostolate. He renounced his rights to any future inheritance, worked as a catechist and was ordained a priest at the age of 26. Called to Milan in a few years, he laid the foundations of three religious congregations, one for men and one for women, plus an association of married couples. Their aim was the reform of the decadent society of their day, beginning with the clergy, religious and lay people. 
<p>Greatly inspired by St. Paul (his congregation is named the Barnabites, after the companion of that saint), Anthony preached with great vigor in church and street, conducted popular missions and was not ashamed of doing public penance. </p><p>He encouraged such innovations as the collaboration of the laity in the apostolate, frequent Communion, the Forty Hours devotion and the ringing of church bells at 3:00 p.m. on Fridays. </p><p>His holiness moved many to reform their lives but, as with all saints, it also moved many to oppose him. Twice his community had to undergo official religious investigation, and twice it was exonerated. </p><p>While on a mission of peace, he became seriously ill and was brought home for a visit to his mother. He died at Cremona at the age of 36.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, help me make my life more about you and less about me. May others see you in me—your image and likeness. Teach me ways to increase my time with you, my service to others, and my love for my family, for strangers, and for the poor. You are the light in the darkness. With each new day, may we be light to one another.

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