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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 28.38%
Average: 20.27%
Pretty Bad: 2.7%
Total Crap: 12.16%

4 reviews, 50 user ratings

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Life as a House
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by Stephen Groenewegen

"Life lessons"
3 stars

Life as a House is a domestic comedy-drama about an architect (Kevin Kline) who's dragged out of a rut when he's diagnosed with terminal cancer. He sets about building his dream home and reconciling with his rebellious teenage son. In the process, his ex-wife falls back in love with him.

Life is a House is nicely shot by Vilmos Zsigmond, but goes on too long. The central metaphor isn't exactly startling or revelatory, either. Mark Andrus' screenplay encompasses the dysfunctional neighbours in an attempt at some American Beauty style black comedy (nice to see Mary Steenburgen again). But the plotís key lessons are laboured and dull.

The film also sacrifices plausibility by making the father and son such polarised characters and then restoring their relationship so quickly. Kline struggles to make his man-coping-with-life-change believable and interesting, but Christensen contributes an admirably shaded performance. Kristin Scott Thomas is radiant as Klineís ex-wife. The credibility of Life as a House is also dealt a tragic blow by "Ali MacGraw syndrome" - the failure to give realistic details of a fatal illness. Kline contracts "movie cancer" and just fades away, as MacGraw's character did in Love Story.

Although director Irwin Winkler cuts back on the sentimentality, Life as a House is shrill and sanctimonious in its idealising of the perfect, pre-divorce nuclear family. It also condemns any carnal longing outside the norm, such as gay sex or attraction between a teenage boy and older woman. The plot throws in drug use and prostitution for shock value and as fodder for further moralising.

The proceedings are partly redeemed by the generally fine performances and good-natured ending.

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originally posted: 05/11/02 10:02:24
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User Comments

7/20/09 JR Fake. Idiotic. Garbage. Nuff said... 1 stars
6/01/07 ES It's worth the watch 4 stars
3/31/07 alyxandria It's simply amaizing.Hayden looks better then ever and he proved to be arel talent 5 stars
9/14/06 Lori this movie is wicked, fun and touching, Hayden christensen's acting rules in this film 5 stars
2/13/06 KMG the best part is watching Hayden Christenson cum in the shower 4 stars
12/18/05 Tim Spectacular! Critics are nuts! 5 stars
2/02/05 Darryl Fine cast really delivers in this one. Excellent film. 4 stars
12/09/04 Shira Really good, meaningful 5 stars
8/17/04 Jazmin I thought the movie was the BEST! Mary ur the best!!! 5 stars
6/07/04 KMD Wonderful movie! 5 stars
5/11/04 Maria Its an awesome movie its touching i loved it 5 stars
4/30/04 Justine Harty I thought it was a great movie!!! 5 stars
3/26/04 Pinkline Jones Fine acting by Kline - nice quirky but real story 4 stars
9/28/03 Lord Chu Excellent and touching. A bit anticlimatic, but still works. 5 stars
8/12/03 maya leon it so good, i am a huge believer in fate and reason. the storyline and cast were perfect. 5 stars
7/27/03 Kelli great movie, love ya hayden 5 stars
6/20/03 Wendy Carpenter I'm not a fan of tragicomedy, but this is decent + my son liked Mary Steenburgen's pooper. 4 stars
5/21/03 steph This movie was shitty. SHITTY. Avoid it at all costs. 2 stars
3/22/03 Skankin' inThePit awesome movie, i bawl at the end! hayden acted well in this and i like his piercings (hot!) 5 stars
2/01/03 me awesome!!! everyone did a great job!! 5 stars
1/21/03 Hana I've seen it a billion times and every time I love it 5 stars
1/20/03 Kerra Oscar material for sure....good quality and in depth characters 5 stars
1/20/03 Holly Hayden did an awesome job at acting in this movie 5 stars
1/20/03 Melissa I think hayden did an amazing job of acting he should have gotten an oscar movie 5 stars
1/20/03 Bear Hayden in this movie did movie i have ever seen in my life..... 5 stars
1/12/03 Leah nah we should've seen hayden more in the shower instead. 4 stars
1/08/03 tina excellent 5 stars
11/16/02 Big Ted Hayden deserved Oscar nod. More this, less Star Wars. 5 stars
10/12/02 monkey It was a farly decent movie, it would have been better if we got to see Jena in the shower 4 stars
10/10/02 (-(-(--plurthoughts--)-)-) mmm...hayden's all punked out...yummy 5 stars
9/29/02 Peter Sherlock Dery me. American meaningless schmaltz for zombies. 1 stars
9/01/02 Robbie Banfitch decent but flawed, a little too much cliche 4 stars
7/25/02 Cannibus I would love to fuck the ever living shit out of Jena Malone. No accounting for the film. 1 stars
7/11/02 Vitality1 Cried nonstop. So I'm a sap, it's a good movie! 5 stars
6/16/02 steve donaghy one of the greatest movies i have seen, seen it on father day weekend, andi cried and cried 5 stars
6/07/02 TJ Really liked Hayden. Hope his future is full of success! 4 stars
5/22/02 Kelly It was ok,Hayden gives a suprisingly good performance,kline on the other hand,hes no spacey 3 stars
5/20/02 Kristen Hayden was beautiful after he got the hole out of his chin lol 5 stars
5/12/02 dave macdougall made me cry....nuf said 4 stars
3/07/02 Jenny Tullwartz KST should be capable of better; she's been weak link in too many casts, including this one 3 stars
3/03/02 Wendy Carpenter I'm not a fan of tragicomedy, but this is decent + my son liked Mary Steenburgen's pooper. 4 stars
12/08/01 Rahul Abedin Movies dont get anymore meaninful then this 5 stars
11/29/01 Amy The best movie I have seen in 2001...and that's out of about three a week. 5 stars
11/28/01 CoffeeVixen splendid, one everyone can get something out of, performances were awesome! 5 stars
11/26/01 Brenda Very good movie about life, family, and acceptance of death. 4 stars
11/25/01 Suzz kline's butt can be missed as can this exploitative film 3 stars
11/19/01 Greyjack Ham, meet fist. Some good acting, yes, but jeezus, one of the least subtle scripts, EVER. 2 stars
11/14/01 spaceworm We're getting a pretty good young Vader. More Steenbergen in black lace - please! 4 stars
11/12/01 poetchuck Easily a six handkerchief movie 4 stars
11/08/01 tnt very enjoyable 4 stars
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  02-Nov-2001 (R)



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