I Don't Know How She Does It (2011)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I have said it before but I’ll say it again: Sarah Jessica Parker is not one of my favorite screen stars. Perhaps it is my biased opinion on the television show that made her who she is today or perhaps it is the actress herself, but whatever I do not clamor to see her latest flick. This one, her latest is mediocre at best but it had potential.

Juggling motherhood and a career is not as easy as it may look. Boston native Kate Reddy (Parker) should know. As a finance executive, she is under constant scrutiny at her work and if her boss (Kelsey Grammer) wants her in New York or Atlanta, she had better go without complaint – and she does, but as a result, it is her home life that is really teetering on the brink of insanity. Her husband (Greg Kinnear) is struggling to make his own business work meaning that she is the main breadwinner in the family of four. When her boss promotes her to a new client, she is forced to travel more and work closely with the highly respected bussinessman Jack Abelhammer (Pierce Brosnan) who demands a great deal of her time. Even with the invaluable help from her assistant (Olivia Munn) and her best friend (Christina Hendricks) who acts as a sounding board, Kate is determined to be the homemaker her children need – even if that means making a bought pie for a bake sale look as if it was homemade. Birthday parties and doctor appointments take up the free time she does have at home but Kate’s life isn’t just one big juggling act – it’s one where family matters and nothing is going to take that away from her.

I got a chuckle or two out of this comedy… but I also thought it played into the stereotyped plots too easily, like a husband’s complaint that he never sees his wife, or a flirtation with marital “danger.” The script reads like an adult comedy that is meant to aim its one-liners at mothers who can relate – or women in the high-powered jobs that feel as if they have had to claw their way to the top. It comes across as more of a platform for the working mom to get across her rants and let off some steam about unfair treatment in the workplace – about equal rights. While I do grasp that all of this is for dramatic effect, there is a lot of truth to it in that women still do bemoan their place in the work place – they want to be treated with equal opportunity and yet sometimes they don’t act like they should, like they have earned it. And I am saying all of this fully aware that I am not in the group that this story is meant for.

Filmmaking takes some getting used to as it stets up an interview-like pattern – interviewees range from Kate’s best friend to her rival at work and the “most perfect” stay-at-home mom. Its idea grows old really fast but after the first fifteen minutes (when it is really irritating), it settles in for a better balance that is less annoyance and more humorous. Acting was decent and also includes Busy Phillips, and Jessica Szhor as the nanny Paula. Fortunately, writers never did overstep the bounds in one part of the film but it wasn’t for lack of teasing it. Instead they must have figured it wouldn’t go over well with audiences and they would have been right. If there is only one thing that could be going for this comedic flick, it is the ending. It has one of the cutest endings in a long while (purely by a standard that makes the film "complete") – it’s just one department in the Hollywood workplace that needs improvement.

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(Rated PG13 because of a couple dozen sexual references; a brief suggestion implies an abortion that never takes place. Uses of sh*t and other mild profanity pepper the script as do occasional misuses of the lord’s name in vain.)  


  1. I wasn't going to watch this one. But you have me thinking I should just so I can see what you mean about the ending.

  2. Well... I thought the ending was one of the better ones to come out of Hollywood. Most movies today don't really "end," they just sort of "stop." I don't really mind it as much as other members in my family do, but still... I do like that "epilogue" of an ending, and as a result, I thought this one was sweet. Do enjoy it, if you decide to see it, Juju. =)

  3. Great review. I agree with you as much as I loved Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie in Sex in the City ~ on the big screen she doesn't dazzle me ~ even in the new Sex in the City movies ~ I just walk away like eh! I have a long commute so I listened to this audiobook ~ the book was AMAZING ~ it's set in London...so the reader had a great British accent ;) I'm one of those people that never like the movies after I've read/listened to the book but what the heck $1 to Redbox ~ I think I'll check it out with the new NY to Atlanta spin.

    Thanks for checking out my blog and following me. I love your blog...following now!!

    ♥ Shia

  4. Thanks, Shia!

    Funny thing is: as much as I DON'T like SJP, I have enjoyed her last three or four big-screen movies. Didn't realize this one was based on a book - now I do. =)

    Thanks bunches for following! Stop in often. =)


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