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STUDIO: Starz/Anchor Bay
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
• A Conversation With Author Allison Pearson
The trials and tribulations of a modern gal trying to balance a career with the needs of her family.
Sarah Jessica Parker, Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Christina Hendricks, Kelsey Grammer, Seth Meyers, Olivia Munn
Kate Reddy (Parker) has a really tough life. She has a job she loves that pays really well, she has a supportive husband (Kinnear) who loves her, two kids she loves, and exciting opportunities for her future. She’s surrounded by people who respect her as a professional, and who understand the value she brings to the projects she takes on.
Unfortunately, she occasionally has a mother-in-law (Jane Curtin?!?) or annoying co-worker (a wasted Meyers) take unfair jabs at her. Thankfully, she doesn’t have to deal with them very much. Then the movie’s over.
Oh wait, no, she has a business relationship with an attractive and powerful businessy guy (Brosnan), who falls for her and uses his position of power over her to be really friendly and understanding when she rejects him.
Nothing of consequence happens for the entire running time. Everyone is nice. Nothing goes any more than superficially wrong. At one point, Kinnear sort of accuses Parker of having an affair with Brosnan. She responds by – well, not really responding, but that’s okay, because he doesn’t seem all that threatened. Then, one of the kids falls down the stairs, and her phone has died, so she doesn’t find out right away, but it’s okay because the kid isn’t hurt. Then she’s told to jump on a flight right now to be in Atlanta tonight and makes her big stand, telling her boss she’ll go Monday, but she’s done jumping on planes on short notice. He’s fine with that.
The film is presented in a semi-first-person way, with a highly derivative Carrie Bradshaw-style narration coming and going randomly, which is bizarre when combined with the occasional documentary-style confessional moments from various side characters. These are mostly annoying moments where the female supporting characters spit out bumper sticker or refrigerator magnet style clichés about being a woman. This confusing perspective distracts from the relatively straightforward narrative, at first giving the impression that something of consequence is about to happen, but later just adding to the running time.
This is one of the most predictable and unnecessary films ever made by mainstream Hollywood, and almost definitely THE most predictable and unnecessary of 2011. It is to the chick flick what Michael Bay’s Transformers films are to the action genre: it’s cold and calculated, knowing exactly what its target demographic is looking for and delivering exactly that and not one iota more. It’s an insult to feminists everywhere, regardless of gender – no woman who has ever fought for a place in a male dominated work environment, or male who has ever supported a woman in that fight, should feel anything but disgust at the stereotypes presented here. It’s not funny, original, or insightful. It relies on good will from Sex and the City fans to generate any kind of interest whatsoever. It functions as an illustration of recognition of market opportunity and the development of a product to capitalize on that.
I Don’t Know How She Does It. I’m just thankful she only did it for 90 minutes.
I Don’t Know How She Does It features a fantastic cast that’s utterly wasted. The actors are given nothing in the way of dialogue or situation to sink their teeth into, and end up relying only on their own charms for effect. Christina Hendricks and Olivia Munn have thankless roles as Parker’s friend and co-worker, respectively. Munn is a committed career woman who is adamant that she’ll never have kids and end up like Parker. But then (SPOILER ALERT) she gets pregnant and decides she can do it! Hendricks is an attorney, I guess? She sort of seems to also be a working mom. Kinnear is likeable. Brosnan is charming. Grammer is firm but fair. Meyers is himself from Weekend Update, but with nothing clever to say.
A mercifully short interview with novelist Allison Pearson reveals nothing of interest; apparently, they had enough of a problem with men not wanting to read the book only because it had a pink cover that they printed some with a blue cover?
The Blu-ray presentation is quite good, however, with exceptional image clarity, a pleasant filmic look with natural grain, and an effective 5.1 DTSHD-MA soundtrack that prioritizes dialogue well, using the surround channels most effectively to present the film’s score and soundtrack selections.