Life Happens
Universal // R // $19.98 // August 28, 2012
Review by Ryan Keefer | posted October 16, 2012
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The Movie:

I am going to presume that this is not entirely the case, but when an actor/actress appears on the Hollywood landscape and achieves a certain level where people recognize her name or face, there appears a friend or two of that person who carves out their own living and incorporates the actor into it somehow. On one hand you have Kate Bosworth, who has appeared in higher visibility projects like (21), and on the other, you have Kat Coiro, presumed friend of Bosworth and even appeared in an independent film While We Were Here, which Coiro wrote and directed. It is not the first collaboration between the two, as Life Happens happens to be the other.

Coiro directed there as well and co-wrote with Krysten Ritter (Breaking Bad), who appears in the film as Kim next to Bosworth's Deena. Both are young single women and professionals living in California. Kim is a dog walker, Deena is a writer, and both play the singles scene adeptly. On a chance night when both of them had gentlemen callers, Deena decided to call dibs on the last condom in the house while Kim was forced to 'rawdog it.' The end result was a baby and the film spends most of the time showing Kim trying to adjust to this change in her life while Deena's life continues to progress. Their friend Laura (Rachel Bilson, Waiting For Forever) also serves as a small form of comic relief in the house. When Kim meets Nicolas (Geoff Stults, J. Edgar) on a chance encounter, she tries to reconcile having a relationship with him while trying to figure out if his discovery of her child will be a deal breaker in said relationship.

At first glance the film looks like reminiscent of Knocked Up, where a single person has their life thrown into turmoil by the arrival of a newborn into their life. However, where Knocked Up focused more on the couple, Life Happens focuses on one side of the equation, and as Kim, Ritter tries to balance raising a child with some semblance of a social life decently in what turns out to be a decent performance. Along those same lines, Bosworth has a modest albeit unspectacular turn as Deena. Stults handles his role as the testosterone well, with Jason Biggs (American Wedding) and Justin Kirk (Weeds) tossed into the mix for comedic relief, with the latter sporting a damp hairstyle and pornstache to initial shock, but subsequent boredom.

Along with the strange and slightly underwhelming turns by the supporting cast, Coiro certainly tries to hollow out some sort of cute and funny story in her screenplay, with warm and fuzzy feelings between Kim and Deena, with predictable conflict tossed in and hopefully leads towards a reconciliation of some sorts. They also toss in jokes every so often that double as things that are gross-out jokes geared for the female fans that are supposed to be funny. As one who does not possess the XX chromosome at last check, I found them bland and derivative, and a cheap, flat attempt at humor masking a story that does not know what it wants to do with itself.

And above all else, that is the thing that holds Life Happens back from being even a modestly entertaining flick. It just kind of lies there, not doing anything, and is barely responsive despite attempts to the contrary. While Bosworth's attempt to bring Coiro (or other friends) into the scene for the mutual benefit of their voice (for the latter) and a desire to build on acting acumen (the former), sometimes the results misfire for all involved.

The Blu-ray Disc:
The Video:

Universal trots Life Happens out on Blu-ray in an VC-1-encoded 2.40:1 high-definition widescreen presentation, with the overall result being a little bit of a mixed bag. There appears to be no edge enhancement and image detail is decent, with film grain being present during extended stretches of viewing. That said, there tends to be some softness in the foreground with some of the subjects, and black levels have a moment or two of inconsistency. If I was deciding between this and a standard definition version of the film you could go either way on it to be honest.

The Sound:

The DTS-HD Master Audio lossless 5.1 surround track packs a bit more punch that I was expecting, starting with "Riding Dirty" in the opening credits of the film. Moreover the film is slightly song-heavy and the soundstage shows them off nicely. In quieter moments the dialogue sounds clear and does not require compensation, and the directional effects within a scene provide for a quiet sense of immersion that is very enjoyable. A nice little soundtrack to be had from this film.


Nada amigo.

Final Thoughts:

While Kate Bosworth's turn into more modest films is admirable, she does not bring much to the table in Life Happens, and as the star of the film, Krysten Ritter tries but comes up short as well. Technically the disc is decent though not jaw-dropping, and the lack of extras firmly keep it in the 'rental on a slow night' category more than anything else, because there are still points for effort here which deserve a mention.

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