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Laugh 'til you cry at babycare comedy

Most chick flicks don't get laughs from the deaths of two characters and the orphaning of their only baby. Life as We Know It does just that -- and gets away with it.

First up, I have to confess that I'm no fan of former Grey's Anatomy pin-up Katherine Heigl, as she was always a bit cold and wooden for my tastes.

Co-star Josh Duhamel I can take or leave. But somehow it works, and it's a chick flick that's got a bit more depth to it, even if it does stick to the genre rules in many parts.

It opens with bakery-store owner Holly Berenson (Heigl) meeting up with sports journalist Eric Messer (Duhamel) for a blind date organised by mutual best friends Peter and Alison.

The date ends in disaster, but the two are thrown together time and time again as they meet up with their pals and play godparents to their daughter Sophie.

Cue the car crash killing Peter and Alison, leaving Eric and Holly as Sophie's legal guardians, forced to stay in their dead friends' home.

The two can't stand each other, and their relationship is strained by Eric's bed-hopping ways, and the dashing local doctor who wants to show Holly his bedside manner.

If you can't guess the ending, shame on you. It's saccharine stuff, but that's not the point. The movie allows the characters to develop and shows the strains of parenting, made even worse by the situation imposed on the odd couple.

Duhamel and Heigl have real chemistry, and they're ably assisted by a cast of wacky neighbours and in-laws.

At times light and airy-fairy, at times very dark, Life as We Know It is worth a rental.

DVD extras: Includes a feature on Heigl and Duhamel's preparation for their roles, deleted scenes and a "parenting survival guide".