How Do You Know

(Columbia Pictures)

DVD (2010) Written and directed by James L. Brooks                   STARRING: Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson, Jack Nicholson

The story Past her prime at the age of 31, ball player Lisa (Reese Witherspoon) is cut from the US softball team. Where does her life go from here? As she tries to readjust, she finds herself involved with two men: a womanizing major league pitcher played by Owen Wilson, and a gentlemanly corporate suit who is under investigation for stock fraud (Paul Rudd).

How Do You Know is not bad, but not good either  In grade school, we’d call this a “satisfactory.” You did the required amount of work to pass, but your accomplishments are nothing to write home about. You’re attractive, but you’re no Keanu Reeves. Your wedding is nice, but it’s not exactly Will and Kate. You’ve got all the condiments lined up, but you’ve forgotten to BBQ the burgers, you get my drift? While all three actors and their characters are very likable on their own, the script refuses to take them anywhere and their stories lack passion. How Do You Know will never make a best-movie list, but when you compare it to rom-com Katrinas like  Serendipity or The Back-Up Plan, you do see a few redeeming qualities (though not enough to really matter).

How do you know if you should bother?  If you absolutely must have a riveting story, then don’t bother with How Do You Know — I promise you’ll be snoring into your Doritos. But if you’re a dialogue junkie and if you like Owen Wilson or Reese Witherspoon, then go for it. There are some very funny back-and-forths in the film and I laughed quite a bit, but in the midst of this clever dialogue, the movie ultimately forgets to be interesting.

How Do You Know is a 5 out of 10. A language warning for those who decide to watch.

Paula Jane


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