Movie Review Rewind: How Do You Know (2010)

 In Movie Review Rewind, Movie Reviews, Movies

James L. Brooks knows how to make great films. Just look at Terms of Endearment and As Good As It Gets. It has been six years since his last film, Spanglish (starring Adam Sandler), which I did not think was that bad. But in How Do You Know, Brooks creates a mediocre rom-com that lacks both romance and comedy. So, the real title of the movie should be How Is That Possible?

Lisa (Reese Witherspoon) has played softball since she was a little girl. She made it onto the USA team for the Olympics and has won gold medals. But, now she is 31 years old and gets cut from the team because she is not as fast as she used to be. She begins to wonder about her future and if she will ever be able to settle down. Lisa ends up in a love triangle with a professional baseball pitcher named Matty (Owen Wilson) and George (Paul Rudd), a business man who is in some serious legal trouble.

Matty believes he is more valuable than he actually is. Him and Lisa try to have a relationship, but he isn’t taking it very seriously. He thinks he is falling in love, however, he always ends up doing things he has always done. But Lisa finds the exact opposite in George. She thinks he is funny and a little creepy at first though.

George is in some trouble at his work and is under federal investigation. And his father (Jack Nicholson) isn’t making it any easier on him. He is left trying to lay low and work through it while trying to control his feelings for Lisa, who has no idea what she is going to do or who to get involved with. But once she gets to know George, she does the one thing she never counted on – she falls in love with him.

How Do You Know has an all-star cast. There is no ignoring that. But why they all thought this is a movie to showcase their talent by playing uninteresting, forgettable characters is beyond me. There aren’t any terrible performances, but none of them are really good either and that’s a difficult thing to say about great actors such as Reese Witherspoon and Jack Nicholson.

The hope and excitement I had for this film has been destroyed. James L. Brooks just might be losing his touch after all. The movie is not horrible, but it should have been better…a lot better. There are some enjoyable parts in it. Yet at the same time, it is slow-paced, too long, and nothing ever exciting happens. The characters march to one beat and one beat only and it gets tiresome.

How Do You Know is a disappointment on several levels, but at least you have Witherspoon, Rudd, Wilson, and Nicholson to give you something to look at. None of them needed to do a movie like this and Nicholson may have just been doing Brooks a favor. I sure hope so anyway. But a lesson learned for all of those involved.

“Nature Boy” Brandon Vick is the resident film critic of the SoBros Network, and star of Brandon’s Box Office In Your Mouth. Follow him on Twitter@SirBrandonV and be sure to search #VicksFlicks for all of his latest movie reviews.

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