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Notes From the Back Row




It's all about progression. What blew our parents' minds seems normal to us and what we deem extraordinary our children will think is old hat. It's not enough for a baby/toddler to just pee all over a person like back in the Look Who's Talking/Three Men and a Baby era, these days you need to get shit on someone's face if you're looking for a laugh.

The proof is in Life As We Know It , an odd-couple parenting romantic-comedy that opens this week at the Village 8. Katheryn Heigl ( Knocked Up, The Ugly Truth) stars with Josh Duhamel ( Win a Date with Tad Hamilton) as two opposites forced to care for a one-year-old after a their mutual friends die tragically.

The bickering couple then embark on a poo joke-filled disaster of a film, or at least that is the way it looks from the eight clips and trailers I watched online. And Katherine Heigl seems like the same character in every role she takes. Skip this unless your ovaries are aching for cutesy baby crap and contrived narrative garbage. This is anything but progressive.

The other film opening this week is Disney's Secretariat, a based-on-true horseracing tale about a legendary horse and the woman who loved him (not physically, it's a Disney movie.)

The horse is no joke though. A thoroughbred, Secretariat won the 1973 Triple Crown (the Kentucky Derby, The Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes) and set course records in the Derby and the Belmont that still stand today. Against all odds, he won 16 of 21 races he entered and retired at age three, when he became a much-sought-after stud and sired as many as 600 children-horses. That's my kind of retirement.

Secretariat the movie stars always-appealing Diane Lane and never-dull John Malkovich, and even though it's a cookie-cutter underdog tale slopped with sentimentality it's still one of those rare movies that your six-year-old niece and your 86-year-old grandfather will both enjoy. Family fun, if little else.

The big news, of course, is that Fubar 2 has been out for a week and if you haven't driven down to Vancouver to see it yet you really ought to. Shot in the same faux-documentary style as the original, Fubar 2 sees everybody's favourite hosers, Terry and Deaner following their buddy Tron up to Fort McMurray to work in the booming oil sands. Amidst strippers and Workers Comp scams (and West Edmonton Mall), Terry and Deaner find a way to shine a light on the meaning of friendship and remind us all that "knowledge of non-knowledge is power."

It's always tough for a sequel to match the original because the surprise factor is lost but the writing in Fubar 2 is top notch, almost every plot point and joke does double duty and director Michael Dowse ( Fubar, It's All Gone Pete Tong) keeps things moving in this 85-minute instant classic.

Fort McMurray is Canada's greatest national shame and the smokestacks and treeless landscape provide such a perfectly putrid backdrop that no matter how stupid Terry is or how lazy Deaner gets it's hard not to love them, especially when the film climaxes in the best Christmas ever. Go Shanto!

Coming back to the Baby theme, kind of. The DVD of the week is Splice, starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley as two scientists who's baby is a bad-ass-and-strangely-hot new life form they create in lab. And then it all goes downhill. Who knows what the future holds for baby movies, but how to top a shit-on-the-face gag will be one of the next generation's big problems. Right up there with global warming and how to replace all those old trees we're gonna take down in the Callaghan.