WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

PLUGGED IN RATING

    No Rating Available

Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

Sophie's godparents hate each other. Well, perhaps hate isn't the right word. Abhor? Detest? Loathe? Let's just say they don't get along.

It didn't help that Holly and Messer dated briefly before Sophie came along—and when I say briefly, I mean their first and only date lasted almost long enough for Holly to start the car. When their respective best friends (Sophie's parents) got married, Messer and Holly naturally served as Best Man and Maid of Honor���and the wedding naturally culminated with Holly pummeling Messer with her bouquet.

They've been forced to see each other plenty since. Sophie's parents throw a lot of parties. And that sort of prolonged contact has improved their relations somewhat—from bitter repugnance to frosty tolerance. They play nice for their friends' sake, and for Sophie's.

That's good. Because they're going to need all the tolerance they can muster for what happens next: Sophie's parents die in a car crash, and a lawyer tells Holly and Messer that their friends named them—both of them—as Sophie's godparents.

After the two have finished hyperventilating, the lawyer says it's up to them whether they honor their friends' wishes. "This is a big deal," he adds. "This is a child."

It is a big deal. Raising Sophie, after all, means more than setting aside a little extra cash each month for diapers and strained carrots. It means moving, changing career tracks, upending a life's worth of plans.

Oh, and it means they'll have to deal with each other. Every day. In the same house.

I did mention they hate each other, right?

Advertisement

Positive Elements

Parenthood is hard. Becoming a parent unexpectedly is, I think, exponentially harder. All new parents have a pretty steep learning curve, of course, but most have a little opportunity to prepare—brushing up by listening to a few Focus on the Family radio shows, that sort of thing. If you don't have a lot of prep time, that new life can leave a new parent feeling absolutely terrified.

Life as We Know It captures that sense of terror. "It's really hard, and I don't know what I'm doing," Holly says in a moment of disarming honesty. And when a judge remits Sophie into Holly and Messer's care, Messer's pretty incredulous at the fact that they'll just let him walk out of the courtroom with a baby. "How do you know we're not drug dealers or pimps?" He asks. Both are completely unprepared for parenthood, and it shows. Often.

But all that terror suggests how important parenthood is to them. And while they struggle—sometimes mightily—with the sacrifices they're required to make as parents, they still make those sacrifices. Holly cancels an expansion project at her pastry shop not once, but twice. Messer, after initially accepting a great career opportunity in Phoenix, eventually walks away from the gig—knowing his place is with Sophie and Holly.

"I don't just miss you or her," he tells Holly. "I miss us." He says that, as imperfect as they all are, they somehow make a family. And despite all the heartache and sacrifice, they're both better off for it.

The film suggests there's something a bit magical about raising a child—how we can search our whole lives for meaning but find it only after we focus on someone else for a change. It's a simple but profound philosophy, found not just at the heart of family, but at the heart of Christianity, too.

Spiritual Content

Sophie's birth father catches a couple of teens with a baggie of marijuana and tells them they're going to be in big trouble once he informs their parents. "Please don't," one says. "My dad's a pastor."

Sexual Content

Messer is a womanizer for most of the film—a hunk a hunk o' burnin' love who causes almost every women (and at least one man) to swoon in his presence. A married neighbor, for example, struts out in her nightie to ogle Messer's pre-run stretch. (She hastily adjusts her breasts before he can see her.)

Messer takes full advantage, bedding at least three women. We see him kiss and make out with one of them before she takes his shirt off in the hallway. Later, he bemoans losing his sex-filled life to become a dad. "I had it all, and it was awesome!" he tells Holly. To adjust to his new reality, he says he's picking up new conquests at the supermarket—with Sophie's help. Women stare at men with babies, he says, like "a guy'll stare at a woman with a great rack."

On Messer's infamous date with Holly, he tells her that the best he can hope for is that they'll "get drunk and hook up," shortly before making what Holly refers to as a "booty call" to another woman. We see him hold a woman's rear, apparently pinch another's and cavort in his underwear. Holly shows up in the bathtub quite a bit. (We see her legs and shoulders.) She wears only a towel at one point. She and other women often wear low-cut blouses and dresses.

References are made to male body parts and condoms. Rude comments are made about having sex and not having sex. Strippers and "tranny hookers" make their way into conversations. A joke is cracked about what would happen if a tweenage babysitter were old enough to have sex with the baby's father. Gary, one half of a homosexual couple, tells a neighbor that he and his partner "used to have sex all the time." And they're later shown holding hands. Holly is propositioned over the phone by another woman.

When Messer leaves Holly and Sophie for a bit, it appears as though Holly invites another man to live with her.

Violent Content

Messer drops the baby on the floor when trying to put her in a baby carrier. Holly accidentally propels Messer's motorcycle into the street, where it gets run over by a bus. Several characters jokingly discuss hurting or killing someone.

Crude or Profane Language

As a lullaby to Sophie, both Holly and Messer sing a Radiohead song containing the word "h‑‑‑." The s-word shows up twice. God's name is misused at least 30 times. There's one abuse of Jesus' name. Milder profanity includes "d‑‑n" and "a‑‑."

Drug and Alcohol Content

People drink beer and margaritas. A pediatrician gives Holly an interesting prescription after hearing how stressed out she is: "1-2 glasses of Pinot Noir, as needed." She decides to follow his advice and subsequently finds herself snockered when a social worker comes for a surprise visit.

When Sophie's dad busts the teens for having pot, he takes it for himself. And we learn (but don't see) that he and his wife smoked marijuana once or twice a year. Messer uncovers an unused bag of dope in their bedroom, and Messer and Holly decide to make brownies with it. They eat several, developing a whole new appreciation for The Wiggles in the process. The next morning, the social worker comes by again and nearly eats one of the brownies. A couple of delivery guys seem to be pretty stoned. Someone makes a reference to crack cocaine.

Other Negative Elements

One of Messer's co-workers describes marriage thusly: "Imagine a prison. Then don't change anything." Messer, in desperate need of a babysitter while he goes to work, leaves Sophie with his favorite cabbie, and both Messer and Holly seem to lose track of the youngster on occasion.

Much is made of Sophie's bodily functions. Messer, playing with Sophie in a bouncy castle, gets spewed with projectile vomit. When Holly and Messer change Sophie's diaper for the first time, Messer describes it as both a scene from Slumdog Millionaire and a "poop suit." Holly cleans Sophie up but gets some of it on her cheek. It's still there when the neighbors come by for a visit. Sophie ruins Messer's favorite hat, if you follow my drift.

Conclusion

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.

Lately, Hollywood's been twisting that old schoolyard rhyme like a set of iPod earbuds in the hands of an 8-year-old. In many films these days, the baby comes first, not last. And the results—from the obnoxious The Back-up Plan to the surprisingly sweet The Switch—have been mixed.

This film falls somewhere in the middle as this new romcom trope gathers momentum. Parents will see themes and scenes that'll likely resonate with them. Life as We Know It may feel at times like life as they know it.

But that doesn't mitigate the fact that our two protagonists often don't make very good role models. No apologies are ever made for Messer's skirt chasing. Holly's invitation to another man to share her home and her bed—apparently just weeks after Messer leaves—earns little mention. When Holly and Messer take a roll in the hay together, the film uses it as a sign that both "like" each other more now than they once did. But is it a sign of commitment? A sign that either has truly bought into this makeshift family for the long haul? Hardly. A short time later, Messer takes off for Phoenix, leaving Holly and Sophie behind.

While family retains an aura of the sacred here, sex slips further into the realm of the merely biological. Nothing new in that, of course. That's part of Life as Too Many People Know It these days. Which is a shame.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

PG-13

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Katherine Heigl as Holly Berenson; Josh Duhamel as Eric Messer; Josh Lucas as Sam; Alexis, Brynn and Brooke Clagett as Sophie

Director

Greg Berlanti ( )

Distributor

Warner Bros.

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

October 8, 2010

On Video

February 8, 2011

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!