I Don’t Know How She Does It

| December 19, 2011

I Don’t Know How She Does It is a romantic comedy starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Greg Kinnear, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Munn, and Christina Hendricks . It’s about Kate Reddy (Sarah Jessica Parker), a hard working, career driven top executive, and how she struggles to balance work and family while dealing with the often chauvinistic world of finance. She acquires a new high profile account which requires 3 months of constant travel and collaborating closely with the handsome and debonair Jack Abelhammer (Pierce Brosnan) putting stress on her marriage and family life.
The film is told in the vein of “Sex and the City” with narration and short monologues woven into the story. It focuses on the upper echelon corporate east coast career woman and her uphill battle in the male dominated corporate world. Kate Reddy (Sarah Jessica Parker), who feels like a continuation of her Carrie Bradshaw character from Sex and the City and her best friend Allison (Christina Hendricks) are the only two working mothers in their children’s school. They are contrast against two women who they refer to as “the momsters” who spend their days working out at the gym, getting their hair and nails done, and planning parties even though they consider themselves “stay at home mothers”and look down on Kate and Allison. This movie is supposed to be a romantic comedy but the few laughs are from Kate’s scene stealing assistant, Momo (Olivia Munn). Momo is Kate’s career driven assistant who is portrayed as robotic and perfectly poised, the antithesis of Kate. Momo’s expressions, gestures, and one liners are hilarious. Momo’s shell starts to crack once she learns she is pregnant which adds to some additional comedic entertainment.
Greg Kinnear plays the understanding struggling architect husband who has Kate’s back until he gets his big break at almost the same time as her. This puts some stress on their relationship and they go through a few exchanges that don’t go deep enough and don’t feel realistic even though Greg Kinnear charms with his sincerity. Jack Abelhammer (Pierce Brosnan) is the quintessential debonair business man. He and Kate develop a close relationship by working together to get this deal done. Jack is a little too glossy and sensitive to be that believable as a high profile corporate businessman. There are a few sparks between the two of them, but not enough to pose any realistic threat to Kate’s marriage, just enough to make her think about what she does have.
The film purports to be about the difficult choices of motherhood and the double standards of men and women in the workforce but never seems to get to the meat of the matter. It is instead, peppered with dated and contrived social observations about the differences of men and women. The jokes are worn and the film could have been so much more. Instead it is boiled down to a show down between corporate moms and stay at home moms i.e. the women at the upper echelon of the corporate world versus the stay at home women with wealthy husbands who work hard to be the “trophy wife.” What about the other working mothers who can’t hire a sitter or nanny? A very strong cast wasted by another weak script.

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