How Do You Know (12A)
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Jack Nicholson
Friday 28 January 2011
How do you know when you're not enjoying a romantic comedy? Well, speaking personally, I tend to go "tsk" and "d'oh", shift in my seat, check my watch – and in the case of James L Brooks's How Do You Know, hardly ever laugh.
Reese Witherspoon plays another control-freak superwoman, this time a national softball player who's at a low after being dropped from the team. But can she pull herself round to choose between her two suitors, baseball pro Owen Wilson (on $14m per year) or financial exec Paul Rudd (going bankrupt while under federal investigation for fraud)? Wilson is an overgrown kid, dim but likeable, with a relaxed attitude to fidelity; Rudd is a sensitive nice-guy who's been under the corporate thumb of his father and boss (Jack Nicholson). Brooks has made some smart comedies in his time (Broadcast News, As Good As It Gets), and Nicholson has bagged a couple of Oscars in them, but neither does himself credit here. The script is so stuttering and therapy-clenched that the characters never get going, and the actors look stranded. "I am anguishing in every way," says Nicholson, and all you think is: since when has "anguish" been a verb? It's a crybaby picture about people trying to be brave and not say what's on their mind - which, once it emerges, turns out to be banal, or narcissistic, or both. Instead of juicing it up with jokes, Brooks has inadvertently given us another story of the American condition, which is that of absolute and incorrigible self-centredness.
A The film has amassed an estimated $28.7 million in its opening weekend
A statement was published on his fansite, True To You, following release of new album
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Three of Pope Francis' relatives die in Argentina car crash, including two young great-nephews
- 2 Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
- 3 Here’s the damning letter Robin Williams wrote to his Mrs Doubtfire co-star's principal after they expelled her
- 4 Ferguson protests: 90-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein ‘arrested’ by police during St Louis demonstrations
- 5 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
JK Rowling releases new Harry Potter story on Pottermore: Introducing Celestina Warbuck, the 'Singing Sorceress'
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Reading Festival 2014: Tesco branch replaces salad and potatoes for Jagermesiter and vodka
Celebrity Big Brother 2014 contestants: Meet Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney
Kate Bush: Previously unseen photographs reveal new side to comeback star
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Ukip MEP calls for reintroduction of death penalty on fiftieth anniversary of last deaths
Russell Brand calls for Israel boycott: Comedian urges big businesses that 'facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza' to pull funding
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
World peace? These are the only 11 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict