Life As A House

MV5BMjA1MDkzMTI4OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzgyNTU0NA@@__V1_SX640_SY720_This movie is as emotionally manipulative as my mother-in-law, and just like any number of  Thanksgiving dinners at her table, I need wine and tissues in equal measure to get through it.

George (Kevin Kline) has an aggressive, sadistic kind of cancer that aims to kill him quick, leaving him just enough time to trick his distant, alterna-punk teenaged son into loving him just a tiny little bit. Hopefully, at least.

Hayden Christensen, reviled for his turn as Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, gets the hulking task of playing the repugnant teenaged son. You know he’s bad tumblr_md5dmlfa8d1qb9pa3o1_500  news because he’s got piercings, and may wear eye shadow. This makes parents uncomfortable!

His parents split up when he was young and even though they both seem like happy, loving people, this messed him up bad. Bad enough to listen to Limp Bizkit and dye his hair blue! Is he irredeemable? George hopes not, so with his remaining days, he decides to engage in a little restorative demolition to tear down the piece of shit house he’s always hated, and erect a new one in its stead.

With every nail hammered into a two-by-four, lifeash1a tiny hole in his heart is healed.

I’m poking fun, because it’s very pokable, but there are some fine performances here. Kevin Kline in particular elevates the syrupy material, but I can’t help but feel bad for him when he’s forced to deliver very obvious speeches about all the themes the director doesn’t trust his idiot audience to have picked up on ourselves. Um, dude, it’s called Life As A House. That’s a pretty heavy-handed hint.

You know about 20 awkward mihch-haus_am_meer_113nutes in that the ending’s going to come with a neat bow wrapped around it, everything resolved so fucking tidily, but there are real moments of truth between the globs of mawkishness. If you can bear it, you should.

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25 thoughts on “Life As A House

  1. Birgit

    I agree with your assessment actually. Kevin Kline made this film easier to watch but it felt like an after school special. It is predictable but you can’t help but love Kline.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Oh sure, you know exactly where this movie is going and how it’s going to take you there. And a couple of things actually work out SO perfectly I almost can’t believe they had the balls to do it. And yet I can’t really dislike it.

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  2. BroadBlogs

    Since Natalie Portman was so horrible in the Star Wars films I was wondering if the problem was the direction rather than the acting — possibly for Hayden Christensen too? Or is he bad in every movie?

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    1. Jay Post author

      There were a lot of things wrong about those movies, and I’d leave it to more knowledgeable people than I to rant about. I actually haven’t seen him in much that I liked. Star Wars probably didn’t help his career.

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  3. markbialczak

    Kline has been getting meatier roles lately, if somewhat stereotyped from the script. He deserves the screen time. Hey, I thought he was pretty good tolerating his ex-wife’s expected rock ‘n’ roller antics and the divorce bile from the kids in Rikki and the Flash, and providing some sweeter unexpected moments. I’ll skip this one at the theater thanks to your necessary poking fun. Maybe later.

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  4. Brittani

    I have a soft spot for this film, and I actually think Christensen was really good at playing an annoying emo teenager. This is about the only thing I’ve ever seen him be good in. But he ruined that forever with Star Wars. lol

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  5. Andrew

    I remember thinking this was everything back when I was 15…but…not so much anymore. It’s decent, but highly manipulative and way too on the nose…and that ending…gross!

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  6. Jay Post author

    I hope someone builds me a house on the ocean when I’m dying. I feel someone should probably start digging an ocean in Ottawa now though.

    If my life was a house, it’d probably be a dog house with a creaky swinging door.

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  9. reocochran

    I saw this movie when it came out awhile ago and liked some of it. Kevin Kline does well in his acting but there are flaws in the plot and dialogue didn’t seem real in places. It is worth watching but mist be in a good mood. 🙂 It did show growth of actors since this came out, like Hayden Christensen. I agree partially but when I saw it, I liked it.

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