Life as We Know It

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Life as We Know It Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Predictable romcom explores mature aspects of parenting.
  • PG-13
  • 2010
  • 112 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 32 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Overall, the movie has positive messages about family and career balance, the sacrifices you make for unconditional friendship, and the importance of teamwork among parents. That said, there are some iffier messages earlier in the film about the way you handle sexual relationships (Messer is a love-'em-and-leave-'em type) and what attributes make women attractive to men (Messer calls Holly boring and predictable).

Positive Role Models & Representations

Holly pursues professional success by working hard at her bakery and catering business. She accepts help from others but doesn't allow the men in her life to tell her what to do. She's also a caring and thoughtful caretaker who loves Sophie like a mother. Messer is ultimately a positive role model as well, but for the first half of the movie, he's an unrelenting, superficial jerk.


References to the car accident that kills Sophie's parents. Holly accidentally lets go of Messer's motorcycle, and it crashes into a bus. A few baby pratfalls played for humor.


Many references to sex and sexual relationships. Messer is a "player" who's shown after a couple of one-night stands (the women are bare-shouldered in bed) and making out on many occasions, mostly in flashbacks. Two characters are shown kissing passionately, bumping into furniture, and tumbling into bed (sex is implied, with them in bed together afterward).


A few uses of "s--t" and "a--hole," plus "bitch," "d--k," "damn," "laid," "hell," "oh my God," "idiot," "stupid," and more.


Product placements in several scenes include: SmartCar, the Atlanta Hawks, Volkswagen Routan, Cuisinart, BMW, The Wiggles, Wonder Pets, Adidas, Whole Foods, and Kitchen-Aid.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In several scenes, the main characters drink beer or wine at dinners and parties. Holly drinks nearly an entire bottle of wine by herself. In one scene, a dad confiscates marijuana from three teenagers; in another sequence, Holly and Messer decide not to smoke the weed but instead bake it in brownies (and then eat them).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although this Katherine Heigl/Josh Duhamel romantic dramedy features a baby, it deals with mature themes related to relationships and parenting that will go over kids' head. Although there's no graphic depiction of sex, there are lots of references to sexual relationships, and Duhamel's character has one-night stands and casually makes out with several different women. Another scene includes heavy kissing and then shows two bodies in bed. Grown-ups drink at dinners, parties, and holidays, and in one scene Heigl's character is shown finishing off a bottle of wine. Marijuana is shown twice and eventually baked in brownies. Language includes "a--hole," "s--t," and "bitch," and there are a surprising number of product placements (particularly household goods and cars), though they're just shown rather than mentioned. On the bright side, teens may learn a valuable lesson about the meaning of family.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 and 14-year-old Written by4mountains September 8, 2011

Not appropriate

My husband and I watched this with our 14 year old daughter and were very uncomfortable and disappointed. It has way too many gratuitous sexual references. So... Continue reading
Adult Written bySeaview9 February 15, 2021

Life as we know it

I’m confused why people call this a ‘critical failure’. This movie is really beautiful and an amazing but sad idea. Very well casted, absolutely love josh duham... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byBuzybee28 July 19, 2020

Good movie if you understand right from wrong

This is a great movie about parenting, but there are some elements that younger kids might not understand. I think mature 12 year olds and kids over the age of... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bybj18675 April 23, 2020

Sex, Drugs, swearing, talking about sex

I think when your child turn to the age of 13 they could watch this. By this time they will have learned that sex isnt something to be mad about. God made every... Continue reading

What's the story?

Put-together caterer Holly Berenson (Katherine Heigl) and womanizing TV-sports producer Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel) were once set up on a blind date by their best friends, Alison (Christina Hendricks) and Peter (Hayes MacArthur), but they quickly realized that they couldn't stand each other -- but that doesn't prevent Alison and Peter from naming the "frenemies" godparents after they get married and have a baby girl, Sophie. When Alison and Peter are killed a car accident, Sophie, now 1, is left with Holly and Messer, who are expected to live in their friends' house and raise their daughter. As the odd couple settles into their unconventional routine, they find themselves falling in love, despite instructions from the child welfare case worker not to "complicate" their situation by getting together romantically. And when a tough choice arises, things get even trickier.

Is it any good?

For moviegoers who like watching good-looking people fall in love -- with a baby and each other -- LIFE AS WE KNOW IT is an easy (if unremarkable) film to see. Heigl, who's an undeniably charming actress, has made quite a few stinkers, particularly The Ugly Truth, which was full of sexist messages. And while this movie at first affirms the tired idea that hardworking, career-minded women like Holly are somehow less desirable than the beautiful but "easy" women that Messer beds, the irresistible baby and the relatable theme of juggling parenthood with being yourself makes this a slight improvement -- albeit still overwhelmingly clichéd (and nowhere near the greatness that was Knocked Up).

Director Greg Berlanti -- who has an impressive track record with TV dramas like Dawson's Creek, Everwood, and Brothers & Sisters -- can't help relying on certain clichés that are OK in hourlong dramas you grow to love season to season but bog down a romantic comedy in eye-rolling predictability. A story about an uptight, organized woman clashing with a carefree, fun-loving man until they stumble into love and tumble into bed together can lead to a satisfying arc on primetime, but here it's simply amusing, because we know exactly what's going to happen. At least Heigl and Duhamel have passable chemistry.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages about family. Do the characters make a believable family unit? Why or why not?

  • Holly and Messer drink on several occasions and also make and eat pot brownies. What's the impact of portraying grown-up characters who like to drink regularly and use marijuana "once a year"?

  • Is the movie predictable? Does that make the end any less satisfying?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance and comedy

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