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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Greetings again from the darkness. How about a little effort, folks?
Writer/Director James L Brooks and Jack Nicholson have teamed up for
three far superior films prior to this. Terms of Endearment, Broadcast
News, and As Good As it Gets are all insightful dramadies that bring
real life into relationships. This is billed as a Rom-Com, but the
romance is distant and lame, and the comedy is all but non-existent.
The very talented Paul Rudd plays George, son of Charles (Nicholson) who is the target of a federal investigation after his father sets him up by falsifying corporate financial documents. The problem is George is a really nice, honest guy and Charles is a lying scumbag who would throw his son to the federal wolves.
In a seemingly unrelated story, Reece Witherspoon plays Lisa, a very talented softball player with an incredible track record and evidently serious skills. She gets cut from the Olympic team because of her advancing age (she will be 31 at the next Olympics). Lisa is dating Matty, played by Owen Wilson. Matty is a $14 million per year major league baseball player, who is also a player off the field.
Everyone in this story is so very nice, but screwed up in their own way. That's actually a hopeful start. So one thing leads to another and George falls for Lisa. Lisa moves in with Matty, who lives in the Charles' building. Lisa then moves out. George is always there for Lisa while her life is in shambles. George's life is in shambles too, but all he cares about is Lisa. Any guess how this ends up? Of course you know. This script is not built for surprises. Or romance. Or comedy.
The bulk of the comedy comes from a very pregnant Kathryn Hahn as Anne, whose life is also a bit of a mess. She is an unmarried, pregnant assistant to George, who worries about him, her and everything ... but she has such a big heart that she bakes and labels multiple dinners for George.
Anyway ... the best part of the film is that we never get subjected to Owen Wilson throwing a pitch or Reese Witherspoon actually playing softball. There is so much talent associated with this film, but it definitely proves the point that the heart of a film is not in the direction or the acting, but in the script. For a similar story line, but far superior film, go re-watch When Harry Met Sally for the eighteenth time. It has comedy and romance and a worthy script.
From looking at the casting, you would immediately think this to be a
romantic comedy, and I guess that's where it starts going wrong.. from
people going in to see this movie, expecting a chick flick and being
I believe the reason for the poor reviews of this movie are due to the fact that is has been advertised and delivered as a romantic comedy.
True, it is fit for the romance genre, comedy.. not so much. But as far as romantic drama's go, this is an excellent picture for the modernized crowd.
That's because it is so much more. It is ideal for viewing of a well- intended inspiring somewhat-romantic movie. Humour is few and far between for a comedy-seeking crowd, however for those who connect to the characters, the humour is purely intended for those devised from caring for the characters.
Reese Witherspoon has perfected the role of Lisa, this is the movie that I would beg girlfriends to watch, due to her total delivery of the character throughout the entire picture, which is something most girls and women can relate to (whether they've reached that hurdle yet or not).
Which is where I feel the script originated from, life lessons. The script of the movie is all relatable in one aspect or other. It's moving to view a capture of these 'life lessons' within a movie, and I think if a movie can deliver that, then they have succeeded in making a good movie. Although the writing could have been sharper, better presented and wittier, it was decent enough for one to be indulged in the plot.
Paul Rudd, I thought, was a fantastic casting. Again, writing could of been better for a few of his lines where comedy was intended and some of his reactions.. but still I found him to be excellent and I enjoyed watching him.
Nice to see Jack Nicholson again, (huge fan of One flew over the cuckoo's nest!), his part was suitable if not a little long winded. I felt (again) wittier writing would have improved his character and performance hugely, however he delivered his part.
And Luke Wilson.. okay so we all know what kind of movie's he's known for now, and fair enough, he was a good casting for the part. My only itch is I'd like to see him doing more roles similar to Hutch, ala Starsky&, dry detective types.
Moving on, as said above, this is not a movie to make you lol or rofl, merely a movie to be enjoyed from watching these character's journey of self-revelation's throughout.
This is the best performance yet by the wonderful Paul Rudd, a return to form for Owen Wilson, and the first truly sexy turn by Reese Witherspoon, always an excellent actress but never this yummy heretofore. James L. Brooks has a skilled and expert hand with pace and performance, and the movie is funny and unusually thoughtful--too thoughtful, perhaps, for some of the ADD-afflicted people who post here. This is a worthy addition to the very short list of great romantic comedies, and one which will grow in reputation through the years. Jack Nicholson is committed and inventive--perhaps a bit over the top, but that's the only even slightly off-key note in the whole film. Bravo to all involved!
I am very critical of slow pacing but did not find this comedy the
least bit slow. As one who works on Wall Street, I can tell you that
people like George actually do exist (promoted to a position of
authority due to nepotism, but set up for a fall because he actually
has ethics). I thought the way they set things up with the phone call
by Reba, the pragmatic selfishness of his current girlfriend, and the
non-date date worked well together and was plausible enough within
context to be enjoyable. I also thought the relationship between
jock-player (Wilson) and over-the-hill jock Witherspoon was sweet and
funny in its own way.
However, Kathryn Hahn steals every scene she's in as Rudd's personal assistant who hates what's going on and is also a single mom-to-be. And her scene in the hospital alone was worth the price of admission to me. The ending was also well handled. This is the best Paul Rudd performance I have seen since The Shape of Things after many bad ones in-between. Witherspoon was fine even though she didn't seem to have sizzling chemistry with Rudd - she was wonderful with Wilson. The cameo by Shalhoub as a psychiatrist was hilarious. And Mark-Linn Baker was appropriately cowering as the corporate lawyer. Nicholson was fine - he felt the part even though he could have played it in his sleep. Not one of his best, but more than adequate.
So, is this an original and ground-breaking film? No. Is it a highly enjoyable romantic comedy with good supporting performances and funny scenes? Yes!
To prevent claims that I am negatively reviewing this film because I don't like this type of film, I start by saying I enjoyed many of James L. Brooks' earlier works such as As Good As It Gets or Terms of Endearment. Mr. Brooks has demonstrated his ability to put together a diverse and talented cast and bring them together focusing on the things that make all of us different. The writing brings everything together where the work stands on it's own and is as strong as the sum of it's parts. So what happened here??? This film is a painful and mind numbing experience in boredom, bad writing, bad chemistry and pure stupidity! I have watched many a film and rarely have trouble sitting through them. I found myself laughing and almost screaming at this movie to go somewhere! Is it deserving of one star? Maybe I am being too harsh? No, how can you take a movie with Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson and Jack Nicholson and basically throw away their talent by wrapping it around insanely boring and random dialog? The first few times the characters think they are saying something witty that makes no sense to where the movie isn't going, it is irritating. To sit through two hours of this torture is enough to drive one to drink! This movie had no exposure for a reason, avoid it! I am sure you have something better to do for two hours even if it is to watch episodes of I Love Lucy you have already seen.
Okay, so call me crazy, but I would NEVER give a movie a one star rating unless it was absolutely miserable. Like if I would rather leave the theater and the $10 I spent on it than watch it. How Do You Know was not a one star movie. The only problems I saw with it were that it was a little long. I thought they could have cut some scenes out and not only gotten away with it, but made it a more enjoyable experience. Also, with actors like Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson (plus how it was advertised as a comedy) I was expecting to do a lot more laughing in the movie than I really did. Don't get me wrong, it was funny, but not as much as you'd expect. I think if you go to this movie knowing it's more of a romantic comedy than a typical Owen Wilson/Paul Rudd style comedy then you'll be pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed the movie, I thought it was very clever and surprisingly uplifting and I thought it was definitely worth the money.
I was expecting to be very disappointed with this film because I'd
heard that most people disliked it. I really really liked it. I think
that audiences these days have to have a joke every 30 seconds to be
entertained. Maybe audiences feel short changed if there isn't a huge
obvious wrap up off the plot at the end of the film. I liked that
everything wasn't black and white in the film. There are many
unanswered questions. The characters' intentions and feelings weren't
absolutely clear. That's what I loved about it.
It's sad that so many people disliked this film, but I think it's very courageous of James l. Brooks to write a film that pleased him and not have to pace it like most other "successful" Hollywood crap movies. This film makes you think unlike many other huge hit comedies these days.
This was a total waste of money. With such great actors I expected much more. I was so disappointed. There was not much of a plot. There was no spark between the actors. The best part of the movie was the pregnant secretary, who, all in all, had a very minor role. Her role is the only reason I gave this move a 2 rather than a 1. I love Jack Nicholson. I have loved every movie I have ever seen him in. I did not like him in this movie. I am amazed that he agreed to take on such a weak character. Reese Witherspoon is as cute as ever and Paul Rudd is is still the wholesome boy next door but even with these three actors, the movie was a total waste of time and money.
Now I know what Alex DeLarge felt at the hands of the British Penal
System and its experimental aversion therapy...
The dialogues are out of key, the characters don't connect, the music is just a punch in the stomach... Any expectation built for this movie is rapidly consumed by the expectation that it ends soon... but it doesn't... Two whole hours of movie which seem more like five and will let any who tries to watch it as tired as Coach Mo after running the marathon...
If you're hopping for something in the lines of "As Good As It Get" with smart dialogues like "The Simpsons" then you're in for a disappointment.
If somebody asks me what "How do you know" is about, my answer would have to be "I don't know". Probably the writer/director doesn't know either. There's a girl (Reese Witherspoon), who's having a really bad day and is dating a completely idiotic guy (Owen Wilson), who's supposed to be funny I guess but totally isn't, and then there's a guy (Paul Rudd) and he's having a dreadful day as well and somehow the two meet and start pouring their souls out to each other, but in a boring-nothing-makes-sense kind of way. All Witherspoon was doing was looking hot in shorts. And it's a shame 'cause she can act. As for Rudd... I find him hilarious, a really talented comedian. But he can only be hilarious when somebody writes him a descent role. Like in "Friends" or in "Knocked Up". The only kind-of-okay moment he had in this movie was when he banged his head on a coffee table. He can do better. Oh, and did I mention Jack Nicholson was in this too? How is it possible, with a cast like this, to create an utter piece of junk? If you want to know you can watch this, but I really wouldn't recommend that you do...
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