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Movie Review: How Do You Know (December, 2010)

Director: James L. Brooks
Screenplay: James L. Brooks
Release Date: December 17, arthritis 2010 (USA)
Actors: Reese Witherspoon, tablets Paul Rudd, valeologist Owen Wilson, Jack Nicholson, Kathryn Hahn

Catching up with movie reviews this holiday season!

Anyone who knows me knows that I love romantic comedies. (Though, lately, not as much.) I enjoy those Lifetime, Hallmark films with those flightly light romantic movies. Seeing the trailers for How Do You Know did not give me much hope, but I went in with cautious optimism and low expectations. Unfortunately, even with my low expectations, How Do You Know fell completely flat.

With the combination of James L. Brooks, Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, and Jack Nicholson, one would think this powerhouse would make a successful romantic comedy, and it did neither. Add Owen Wilson, and the whole movie seems to be lost in finding its tone. Does it want to be wacky funny? Does it want to be touching funny? Reese Witherspoon plays Lisa, a star softball athlete that has been cut from the team in the new season. She’s been dating the famous baseball player Matty (Owen Wilson) who is totally into himself, and is unsure of knowing whether or not he’s in love. He plays the clueless jerk-like boyfriend. Paul Rudd, playing the likeable and lost George, has just been accused by money laundering in his company and is in a sticky situation of possibly going to jail for his accused crimes. His only ray of sunlight is befriending Lisa, whom he clearly falls for.

The film seems to not have a clear purpose, though I understand in what it’s trying to say. Lisa is basically trying to find a purpose and a dream that fits her after getting her main dream being pulled from underneath her. Perhaps the movie was supposed to be poignant, but it’s not, with the outrageous character of Matty, clearly not meshing with Lisa and me constantly wondering why such a smart girl like that would stay with him. How Do You Know wasn’t really comedy, and it wasn’t really romantic. It had difficulty finding its medium and in the end, never really found it. Not only did Lisa seem lost, but I’m sure the viewers eventually became lost as well.

As usual, Jack Nicholson is wonderful as George’s dad, and really stood out for me in the scenes he was a part of. Kathryn Hahn, who plays George’s secretary Annie, and is apparently one of the few friends George has, was equally as wonderful. It’s odd, because I felt Reese Witherspoon somewhat just phoned in the scenes, not that she is bad, just that nothing really stood out for me in regards to her. Same goes for Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson.

Having said all of this, the movie isn’t horrible, for those who like romantic comedies. But this is not one I would recommend seeing in the theatre, or even really renting unless you have nothing else better to do.

Not recommended. 2 play dohs / 5 play dohs

Theatrical Trailer:

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