Something about this movie looked “funny,” but not so much so that it got me out to the theater. Instead, months later while in the video store, looking for something else, I saw a copy in, and grabbed it.
How Do You Know (2010) Film Review
Never mind that she holds some the best records, thirty-something Lisa (Reese Witherspoon) is, for the first time, holding her breath she’ll make Team USA’s softball team Her teammates and coach recognize her worth but new management pushes for a younger team altogether. Currently Lisa is in a tentative but non-exclusive relationship with Matty (Owen Wilson), an MLB player. The popular celebrity athlete is worth 14-million and lives a luxurious lifestyle, but with such conflicting emotions, the relationship doesn’t have much going for it.
After a botched blind-date set-up (with no thanks to her friend), Lisa eventually connects with George (Paul Rudd). Somehow he begins playing a part in Lisa’s very complicated life and her professional life collides in a love triangle she doesn’t need. George’s life is not going the way he’d like either. Under investigation for fraudulent trading, George is banned from talking to anyone in his father’s company. Then his father (Jack Nicholson) informs him that the board won’t pay for his legal fees, and George’s life suddenly spirals… except when he’s with Lisa.
Writer-director-producer James L. Brooks has a reputation for movies that tend towards comic happenstance (and crude comedy). And this is no exception. Since the entire movie is “messy,” the script follows suit. All of the characters kind of come off as bumbling idiots without purpose or meaning. They drink when things don’t have promise, trying for temporary oblivion to make them feel “better.” But at the same time, this script is full of conversation without really being informative. Its title would suggest they ponder some of life’s big questions – love and consequences. Unfortunately, I just don’t get that the characters are going to be any better for having pondered anything; something they do a lot of!
Witherspoon is the only thing that even made me notice this flick; and even she disappoints. I’d thought she was maybe the only “sane” character, but nope, it’s misleading. If given a choice, I did much prefer her and George’s scenes over those with Matty, partially because each one has more sincerity, and because they seem to have a healthier relationship.
Even without some of the raw humor, to be honest, How Do You Know isn’t… great. It has its share of good, and one of my favorite sequences finds Lisa homeless, and ending at George’s house. The script during this scene is sometimes rambling but somehow the scene still plays out well, and works. (Also crazy memorable is the scene at the hospital.)
More than anything How do you Know is straight up comedy. I like the movie for a night’s worth of entertainment despite the sudden (albeit sweet) end. It does find some good in its race to an end. Nonetheless, I cannot see myself re-watching this, and instead would say for Reese fans, stay with her classics like Sweet Home Alabama or go for the comedy Morning Glory over this, any day.
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You can find How Do You Know (2010) digitally on Amazon Video or currently, on Netflix (at publication).
CONTENT: There’s two post-sex conversations with heavy breathing; and later references about “anonymous sex,” and discussion about a love life. There’s references to having more than one sexual partner. An unmarried couple live together; there’s quite a lot of crude humor. Two-three f-words consecutively, ba*****d, sh*t, da*n and various abuses of deity are sprinkled throughout as is some other uncouth profanity. The film is PG-13
Note: this review was published in the archives five or more years earlier. Since moving to WordPress, 90% of the reviews, lists and articles need re-formats and/or other updates. Updated edits and changes to fit current formats have been made; it has also been updated with new photos, and republished.