Business rating: 0.5 star
Star cast: Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson, Jack Nicholson.
Plot: Thirty-year-old Reese Witherspoon is going through a very difficult phase in her life because she’s just been thrown out of the US National Women’s Softball team. She has a fling with Owen Wilson, a successful baseball player, but her heart also aches for Paul Rudd, a vulnerable guy who is being investigated for stock-fraud. Whom does she finally choose?
What’s Good: Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson’s performances; the emotional climax.
What’s Bad: The hackneyed script; the average performances from the others of an otherwise stellar cast.
Verdict: How Do You Know is a below-average fare. It will prove to be a disaster at the Indian box-office.
Loo break: Several during the whole film.
Watch or Not?: Watch it at your own risk.
Columbia Pictures Corporation, Gracie Films and Road Rebel’s How Do You Know is a romantic comedy about a girl who is confused in her choice of a life partner.
Lisa (Reese Witherspoon) is a 30-year-old girl who is adjusting to life after being thrown out of the US National softball team, which she was a part of for many years. As playing softball is the only thing she knows, she is undecided about what she wants to do now. Anyway, she starts dating Matty (Owen Wilson), a baseball star, and a self-professed narcissist and polygamist. The couple has a good sex-life and soon Matty asks Lisa to move in with him. Lisa agrees.
On the other hand is George (Paul Rudd), who is in big trouble because he is being investigated for stock-fraud, something that he has no clue about. George’s cunning father and boss, Charles (Jack Nicholson) fires him. Repentant and drunk, George fixes up a blind date with Lisa, whom he meets a day later at a fancy restaurant. During their date, George falls for Lisa, but the latter makes it clear that they should not meet again as she is dating someone else. However, soon enough, their paths cross again as Lisa is reconsidering her relationship with Matty, and George has just discovered a horrible truth about his dad. Do Lisa and George form a bond? What happens of the criminal charges against George? The rest of the film and the climax reveal the answers.
How Do You Know Review: Script and Screenplay
The script and screenplay of ‘How Do You Know’ (by James L. Brooks) have nothing new to offer and are full of loopholes. Although Lisa is supposed to be an ace softball star, she is never shown to be actually playing the game. Even though she professes her preference for dating a person who is not a sportsman, she blithely shifts in with Matty. And even if one were to consider the fact that Lisa is avowedly a confused middle-aged lady, enough reasons are not provided for her confusion regarding the choice of her life partner, in particular, and all other things, in general. As such, Lisa’s characterisation remains unconvincing. Moreover, the characters of Charles and George’s pregnant secretary, Annie (Kathryn Hahn), are meant to be funny but fail to evoke any laughter at all. However, the climax, where Lisa chooses the guy she wants to be with, touches a few heart strings.
How Do You Know Review: Star Performances and Direction
The saving grace of the film is an earnest performance by Paul Rudd, who does well as the harried young executive/lover. His single-minded dedication to evading his problems and chasing Lisa is comical. Owen Wilson, as Matty, also does well, as usual. Reese Witherspoon is okay. Jack Nicholson is wasted in a role that offers no scope for comedy whatsoever. Kathryn Hahn, Lenny Venito (as Al), Molly Price (as coach Sally), Shelley Conn (as Terry) and John Tormey (as the doorman) do average jobs.
James L. Brooks’ direction is poor. Although we have seen much better films from him, like As Good As It Gets and Terms Of Endearment, he disappoints with his latest and misses the opportunity of tapping into his extremely talented star cast. Hans Zimmer’s background music cannot do much to elevate the film. Janusz Kaminski’s camerawork is okay. Richard Marks and Tracey Wadmore-Smith’s editing could have been better.
The Last Word
On the whole, ‘How Do You Know’ will fare poorly at the Indian box-office. And don’t ask us: how do we know? It is because the film is a disappointment on account of its weak script.