Life as a House

Rated 3.0 An architectural model builder (Kevin Kline) gets laid off and learns that he’s dying. He resolves to build a house during his remaining months, forcing his rebellious son (Hayden Christensen) to give him a hand and do some serious growing up. There is much about this film that I detest (it’s a tad obvious and insulting at times), but I can’t deny the solid work of Kline and the sporadic promise of Christensen, who make potentially awful material tolerable. This is actually quite a bad movie at times, but it did make me get a little weepy, and I gave a damn about the characters in the end, so I can’t completely knock it. Director Irwin Winkler could’ve had a great film here, but he ends up with one that desperately needs to be salvaged by the performers. In some ways, they succeed. Bring your hankies.