DIRECTED BY: Douglas McGrath
WRITTEN BY: Aline Brosh McKenna,
STARRING: Sarah Jessica Parker, Greg Kinnear, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Munn, Christina Hendricks
RATING: 3 stars
You know you're watching a relevant comedy when you find yourself laughing out loud and whispering to your friend in the cinema, “That's so true!” That's exactly what I found myself doing while watching I Don't Know How She Does It. It's not that the film is particularly realistic, but many people can identify with the characters and their situations because it looks at gender issues and double standards, family life, motherhood and career ambitions.
Based on a book by Allison Pearson, I Don't Know How She Does It is about Kate Reddy (Sarah Jessica Parker) who is a wife, mother of two, and a successful travelling businesswoman who seems to be good at juggling all of these demanding aspects of her life. Richard (Greg Kinnear) is her architect husband who has recently ventured on his own. One day, one of Kate's investment proposals is approved by her company's New York boss, Jack Abelhammer (Pierce Brosnan), so Kate and her assistant Momo (Olivia Munn) are called to a meeting. Thus begins Kate's biggest juggling act as she tries to spend time with her family while also scoring a big business deal.
The film uses voice overs a lot, and at times I found myself being reminded of Sex and The City just because it was the familiar voice of Parker. The film also makes use of interviews to the camera that makes it seem more like a mockumentary. Parker's character even breaks the fourth wall and communicates directly with the audience a few times.
My main criticism of the film is the friendship between Kate and Jack. I don't know if it was the lack of chemistry between Parker and Brosnan, the bad dialogue or the poor acting (probably a combination of all three) but I just didn't buy their friendship. Parker's chemistry with Kinnear however, was excellent, but I think that comes down to him being so likeable. The rest of the support cast includes Christina Hendricks as Kate's fun and opinionated best friend, and the always funny Busy Philips as the bitchy and seemingly perfect super mum. But it's Olivia Munn who steals the show as Kate's junior Momo. She has some of the best lines in the movie but I don't want to share them now and spoil the fun for you. Suffice to say, this witty, grumpy and snobby character is hilarious fun to watch.
While I Don't Know How She Does It certainly doesn't break any new ground, it's a fun comedy that mothers and many other women will appreciate because the moral of the story is that all mothers are super mums trying to juggle various aspects of their lives.