- Running time:
- 121 minutes
- Reese Witherspoon -
- Owen Wilson -
- Paul Rudd -
- Jack Nicholson -
- Kathryn Hahn -
Two people are having the worst day of their lives, and they happen to be on a disastrous first date together. There's Olympic jock Lisa (Reese Witherspoon), an aggressive go-getter who just finds out she's been cut from the national softball team. And then there's mopey George (Paul Rudd), a neurotic businessman who learns that his company is being investigated for securities fraud, and he could be facing jailtime. They hate each other already. Which means—surprise, surprise—that they're perfect for each other…if only Lisa didn't already have a boyfriend: a self-absorbed pro baseball player named Matty (Owen Wilson).
The buzz: How can this miss? It's got two charismatic leads in Witherspoon and Rudd, as well as a high-wattage supporting turn from Jack Nicholson as George's father, the owner of the shady company in question. And! It's written and directed by James L. Brooks, the fairy godfather of smart romantic comedies ("Terms of Endearment," "Broadcast News," "As Good As It Gets") who hasn't made a film since 2004's "Spanglish."
The verdict: The latest entry in the great tradition of yappy, rote Hollywood rom-coms seemingly named after bumper stickers—they could have just titled this "It's Complicated When Something's Gotta Be As Good As It Gets." It's also proof that a great cast and director don't always add up to a winning film. "How Do You Know" is a cute but tepid mush of been-there-done-that obviousness, layered with peppy yarns that inspire more "ugh"s that "awww"s. It's the kind of movie in which the heroine scribbles motivating Post-its to herself, and in which a very pregnant lady—in this case, George's manic assistant Annie (played by Kathryn Hahn)—indulges in all sorts of loony histrionics. (Poor hormones, always taking the blame for overblown writing.) There's even a "stop-the-bus!" moment, in case you weren’t bludgeoned enough by clichés. The film coasts mainly on the winsome appeal of Witherspoon and Rudd, who valiantly keep their game face on despite looking like two very cool people who slowly realize they RVSP'd to a not-so-cool-party.
Did you know? Those laughs don't come cheap: The film reportedly cost a whopping $120 million to make, $50 million of which went to star salaries. Put in perspective, that's about eight times more than the production budget of last year's Oscar winner for Best Picture, "The Hurt Locker."
Movie theaters and showtimes for How Do You Know in Indianapolis.
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