Life as a House
Directed by Irwin Winkler
Review by Matt Heffernan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In short, Life as a House desperately wants to be the next American Beauty, and New Line wants you to believe it is. But it's not. Not even close.
Kevin Kline plays another middle-aged, laid-off man with a distant family and a death sentence. Only this time, he's been divorced for years and he knows his death is coming after being diagnosed with cancer -- on the very same day he is laid off. For his few remaining months, he wants his troubled teenage son (Hayden Christensen) to move back with him and help him build a house. His ex-wife (Kristen Scott Thomas) and her husband (Jamey Sheridan) are just glad to get him out of their house.
The film has its moments, mostly due to Kline's brilliant emotional and physical performance, but it falls flat under the weight of its sentimentality. The schmaltz is piled on good and thick, and the sad-happy ending is completely pre-packaged for popular consumption.
It's almost out of theatres now (I had seen it when it first came out, but I've been more than a bit busy with other things) after doing little in the way of business. No big loss, really, for the public.
For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Life as a House (2001)
Video Pick of the Week
Guide to Star Ratings
Review © 2001 Matt Heffernan