Directed by Douglas McGrath
Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinear, Christina Hendricks
I’m not sure if this is a movie or a catalog of cliches. There is the spunky single mother, the bitchy stay at home moms, the flighty surfer(in Boston?) nanny, the unsupportive mother in law, the holiday in the country, the family car is even a Volvo. I could go on. Luckily theses cliches do not ruin an original storyline, because I Don’t Know How She Does It is as formulaic as it is predictable.
Kate, Sara Jessica Parker, is a hard working mom married to Richard, Greg Kinear a hard working Dad. They have two beautiful children and are managing to juggle careers, marriage and parenthood if not with aplomb, then at least with a modicum of mediocrity. That is until their careers start to pick up. Richard’s architecture firm is actually starting to pick up some decent accounts and Kate who works for an investment banking firm comes up with something called a retirement fund. Evidently this is such an outlandish concept that it requires a great deal of work from Kate and her robotic assistant Momo to sell the idea to their boss in New York, a Mr. Jack Ablehammer, Pierce Brosnan. Even after Kate and Momo sell the idea to Jack in spite of a presentation marred by lice infestations and mixed up off color emails the real work is just beginning. Now that Jack is sold on this new to the investment banking industry idea of a retirement fund, sort of explains the credit crunch doesn’t it, Boston based Kate is going to be spending at least half the week in New York, just when Richard is also going to be much busier than he has been in the past. For a while it appears that Kate is keeping all of the irons in the air, but it’s only a matter of time until somebody gets burned, I think I just mixed a metaphor there.
The story is partially told through flashbacks with Kate’s friends and acquaintances then there is some voice over narration by Kate and just to make sure no opportunity to tell instead of show is wasted time freezes every now and then so Kate can break the fourth wall and explain something to the camera, the emails even talk, like the audience can’t be trusted to read a couple of lines of text. Sarah Jessica Parker can be funny, but she’s never given the chance, slapstick is substituted for any character based comedy, but frankly the characters aren’t developed enough to support it anyway. Kate is defined more by her fine wrinkles and frazzled hair than anything else. The supporting cast of Brosnan, Kinear, and Hendricks all phone in decent performances but again they aren’t really given anything to work with. The story just plods along with Kate digging a deeper and deeper hole until the filmmakers realize that there is only fifteen minutes left and they need to wrap things up, so they wrap things up. There is never any real jeopardy, no doubt that everybody will do the right thing in the end, if this is the worst that driven working moms have to put up with, if this is the biggest crisis that Kate and Richard have to deal with in their marriage then Kate doesn’t really have much to complain about.
The 1080p video is presented in wide screen format. The image is crisp, and detailed with deep focus and a hint of grain. The color palette is neutral with naturalistic skin tones. There are some scenes with blown out highlights but it never affects the subject of the shots. I never noticed any aliasing or blooming are any other sorts of digital artifacts. It looks great.
The audio is presented in 5.1 DTSHD-MA in English only. The mix is competent. The score and the foley never steps on the dialog, and the surround sound use is subtle but present. There are English and Spanish subtitles.
The Packaging and Bonus Features:
The disc comes in a standard blue tinted Blu Ray case. The artwork is an uninspired, saccharine, Photoshoped kludge, but it manages to sum up the movie perfectly. Anchor Bay is confident of the demographic for the film, there is a ten dollar coupon for diapers.com included. The only extras, besides the coupon, are some trailers and a conversation with the author of the book the screenplay was based on, Allison Pearson. She actually makes the book sound much more interesting than the movie without denigrating the film. Quite a feat actually.
Overall (not an average): 4/10
I know they wanted to cash in the title of the book but with a name like I Don’t Know How She Does It you just can’t help but think of juvenile comebacks; I Don’t Know How She Does It – and I don’t care, I Don’t Know How She Does It – and I still don’t know how she does it. Well actually those are the only ones I can think of. I’m sure cinegeek.com readers can come up with a few more, most likely better, let’s hear them in the comments.
The Movie: 4/10
The Video: 8/10
The Audio: 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features: 5/10
Overall (not an average): 4/10