L!fe Happens

 
Mature parenting/dating comedy lacks substance, laughs.
  • Review Date: April 13, 2012
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Positive messages about friendship and learning to be responsible are diluted by characters' iffy attitudes and behavior (lying, not being there for friends, etc.). L!fe Happens attempts to be frank about the challenges of parenting, particularly as a single mom -- and it does make it clear that taking care of a baby is tough for anyone (though, if anything, parenting is even harder than it appears here).

Positive role models

Kim is struggling to juggle the demands of single parenthood while trying to establish a career, date, and maintain her friendships, and the film shows how tough this can be. She's a good mom despite the hurdles, and it's clear she's on a difficult path. That said, she also tells a potential love interest a really big lie, and she doesn't always put her son first. Her friends also have flaws, but everyone ultimately means well.

Violence

A boss verbally berates her employee. Some yelling and bickering.

Sex

Many sexual references, some quite graphic, and a few sex scenes that, although they involve loud noises and people on top of each other, imply more than they show. One woman prefers anonymous encounters and actively resists men who seek relationships. In an early scene, two roommates scurry around their apartment looking for a condom as their lovers await. Some skimpy attire and discussion of one character's virginity.

Language

Frequent swearing, including "f--k," "bitch," "ass," "s--t," "p---y," and much more.

Consumerism

Apple products are shown (a laptop, for instance)

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Several scenes take place at bars and parties where everybody is drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that L!fe Happens is a very uneven indie comedy about a young single mom who's trying to establish a career and meet a decent guy while taking care of her baby. She and her best friends (all roommates) are navigating the Los Angeles singles scene, which leads to plenty of sex talk and a few passionate encounters (expect some loud noises and partially clad characters groping, though no actual nudity). Characters also drink and swear ("f--k," "s--t," etc.) frequently, and they don't always make smart choices when it comes to parenting, friendship, or relationships.

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What's the story?

Kim (Krysten Ritter), Deena (Kate Bosworth), and Laura (Rachel Bilson) live together in Los Angeles as they attempt to carve out their careers. Active in the dating and hook-up scene, their lives change when Kim gets pregnant after ceding the last condom in the house to Deena one fateful night. A year later, Kim is a mom to a chubby cheeked cutie. With baby Max's father nowhere in sight but her friends by her side, Kim tries to juggle motherhood and work -- she's the assistant to a celebrity dogwalker -- and, when time allows, dating. Meanwhile, Deena and Laura take turns babysitting and living their own freer, less responsible lives. But when Kim meets an appealing guy (Geoff Stults) at a bar, she finally takes a breath to acknowledge the impossibility of it all.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Ah, disappointment: How do we count the ways? L!FE HAPPENS is a downer, not because it's depressing material -- single motherhood is, in fact, presented here like a zany, wacky adventure -- but because it lets viewers down in so many ways. Take the actors, who are trying their best in the face of material that labors too hard. It's a pity even Bosworth isn't enough to rescue this vehicle.

The plot has the potential to be interesting, but the execution is woefully tin-eared. The setups with Kim ostensibly being "charmingly" candid about what a killjoy having a baby can be for a single woman looking for love aren't charming at all, or even edgy for that matter. They're just annoying. And the ending? You can spot it mountains away.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Kim's responsibilities. How does she juggle parenting, dating, and work? Do you think she's doing a good job? How does she compare to other young, single moms you've seen in movies or on TV shows?

  • What's important when you're looking for a potential partner? What mistakes do the characters in L!fe Happens make? Are they realistic?

  • How does the movie depict sex? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 13, 2012
DVD release date:August 28, 2012
Cast:Kate Bosworth, Krysten Ritter, Rachel Bilson
Director:Kat Coiro
Studio:Dot Dot Dot Productions
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Friendship
Run time:100 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sexual content including references

This review of L!fe Happens was written by

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Quality

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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