Life or Something Like It [2002]

Director: Stephen Herek
Stars: Angelina Jolie, Edward Burns, Tony Shalhoub, Christian Kane, James Gammon
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 103 minutes

Angelina Jolie proves her box-office versatility in Life or Something Like It, a romantic comedy (Jolie's first) that succeeds on the strength of Jolie's appealing performance. As Seattle TV news reporter Lanie Kerrigan, Jolie craves celebrity (i.e., she's insecure and seeks approval), but her disapproving cameraman (Edward Burns) detects an admirable woman beneath Lanie's bleached-blond coif and pancake makeup. When a homeless street prophet (Tony Shalhoub) predicts that Lanie will soon be dead, she gradually juggles her priorities, connecting with Burns, appearing drunk on camera (a mistake that ultimately works in her favor), and finding new confidence in her professional and romantic potential. It's generic fluff, but director Stephen Herek (Rock Star, Mr. Holland's Opus) approaches the material with his reliably good-natured sincerity, and Jolie's bubbly charm mixes well with Burns's casual sensibility. And while Herek can't compare to George Cukor or Billy Wilder, he knows just how to handle the inevitable loopholes in the prophet's not-so-gloomy premonition. --Jeff Shannon

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