I Don't Know How She Does It
Other // PG-13 // September 16, 2011
Review by Neil Lumbard | posted September 16, 2011
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I Don't Know How She Does It
stars Sarah Jessica Parker as Kate Reddy - a professional with large career stakes and large responsibilities. Oh, and she also has a loving husband named Richard (Greg Kinnear) with whom she has two kids. The main question behind the entire film: How exactly does she manage it all? Work and Family are big commitments and the film aims to examine the balancing act that it is for professional women who also want to be there for their families (which is an even greater commitment for anyone to have).

Kate gets a big promotion opportunity when she is given the chance to pitch one of her ideas to the hugely successful Jack Abelhammer (Pierce Brosnan).  This brings some new difficulties to her home-life as she begins working late with plane-trips between business meetings and family commitments becoming a regular occurrence.  This does cause some tension between her and her husband (who seems especially unhappy with her visiting Mr. Abelhammer for all of her meetings). Kate is determined to make her ideas be heard, and rightfully so, as she is an intelligent woman with large ambitions. The work she is doing is giving her a chance to do what she wants professionally and it is the result of her hard work and determination. Yet could there be more between Kate and Jack? Jack does seem to give some signals to indicate that he might like her beyond being an intelligent business partner.

The film manages to avoid all of the typical pitfalls of standard romantic comedy fare and is actually a bit more biting and original than expected. One of the best elements was how it had a documentary style approach to many sequences (where characters are interviewed doc-style). These scenes provide some of the most humorous elements of the film.

Sarah Jessica Parker continues to do what she does best: remain a likeable and fascinating on-screen presence. Greg Kinnear and Pierce Brosnan give strong supporting performances that represent the two different aspects of Kate's life (business and home). Both Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) and Olivia Munn deliver excellent supporting performances as well, and they both manage to be scene-stealers that add an extra dimension to the film.

While the overall story doesn't captivate as much as the characters and actors do this is still an interesting film that manages to be more entertaining than expected. The biggest faults may be a too-tidy conclusion and the fact that the film sometimes seems to consider itself even funnier than it actually is. Yet this well-meaning and nicely crafted film has more to offer in the positive sense and is worth seeing for those curious moviegoers who thought this looked a tad adventurous and even meaningful.

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