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Life as a House

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Rented this with my mom. I remember hearing some good things about it.

The story is a fairly typical feel good tragedy. Kevin Kline learns he has cancer. He decides to take the summer to try to reconnect with his son, Hayden Christensen (no, he's not related.) He's a sterotypical rebellious 16-yr-old who dresses goth, plays his music at seismic volumes, etc. He's living with Kline's ex-wife and her husband, and life has become unbearable.

Kline has been living an old run-down house that for twenty years he's been talking about tearing down and building his dream house (he's an architect.) It's on a prime location on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean. The rest of the neighborhood is standard suburban homes, with some stereotypical characters, like the local cop who knows everyone. And the obnoxious neighbor who goes out of his way to make life difficult for Kline.

During the course of the movie there's a lot healing going on. Between Kline and his ex, Kristen Scott Thomas. Kline and his son. Jenna Malone (she's growing into a hottie) is a good influence on the son. The old house is coming down and the new one is going up. Meanwhile, Kline is dying.

Clearly, that's the metaphor driving the theme of the movie. Unfortunately, it comes across just a little flat. It seems like maybe they had one or two too many characters and/or subplots. It was just a little hard to keep track of just exactly what was going on between different pairs of characters.

Overall, it was a good movie. But unfortunately I keep comparing it to Michael Keaton's My Life, which was just incredible. I know that's not fair, but they're both about a man's final days while dealing with cancer, so it's an easy comparison to fall into.

On Mighty's Baby Brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Rental. Good performances, but the story was fairly pedestrian.

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Last modified: June 14, 2004
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