There are many things to be said for prophylactic devices, and Life Happens says them all. I don’t mean condoms, although the movie makes a pretty good argument for those, too. I mean the sort of device that might prevent the spread of diseased scripts to the big screen. As dumb and uninspired as its title, Life Happens — not to be confused with the not-terribly-good-but-still-better Love Happens with Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart — is a lost cause of a movie. It’s neither amusing nor insightful nor fun; what happens in it isn’t life but some vague approximation that happens only in bad movies.
The film opens with two young women, Kim (Krysten Ritter) and Deena (Kate Bosworth), each with a man in her bedroom, squabbling in the hallway over the last condom in the house. Young, sexually active women today apparently keep their birth control in the living room, far from the place they are most likely to need it. Who knew? Quick cut a year ahead, and the pals are still roomies, only now Kim has a baby that interferes with her sleep, her job and her love life. Deena, we assume correctly, won that late-night birth control battle.
Kim relies on Deena and their other roommate, the virginal Laura (Rachel Bilson), to watch little Max when she needs to work or attend functions at night. She’s employed as a dog walker/personal assistant to a self-centered rich dilettante (Kristen Johnston) who is no more annoying than any other character in the movie, even though she’s supposed to be. She apparently offers Kim healthcare; how bad can she be? Then Kim meets a hot guy (Geoff Stults) and impulsively lies to him about having a baby, afraid he’ll be scared off if he knows she’s a mom.
Life Happens is built around this unlikely lie — does anybody really try to get away with this stuff? — and hinges on the question of whether Kim will finally grow up and take responsibility for herself and son. You know the answer, of course.
Coiro and Ritter aim for a mix of light-hearted whimsy and R-rated sensibilities but repeatedly strike exasperating stupidity instead. Kim’s dream, for example, is to open a dog mall. Yes. A mall for dogs. It doesn’t even make sense. Neither does the existence of Life Happens, to tell you the truth.
Cast: Krysten Ritter, Kate Bosworth, Rachel Bilson, Geoff Stults, Justin Kirk.
Director: Kat Coiro.
Screenwriters: Kat Coiro, Krysten Ritter.
Producer: Justin L. Levine.
A pmkbnc studios release. Running time: 100 minutes. Sexual content including references. Playing in Miami-Dade only: Aventura, Sunset.