Whenever you enter a relationship, you always want to know if you picked the right person. In the new film from James L. Brooks, the main character Lisa (played by Reese Witherspoon) questions that same dilemma in How Do You Know.
Lisa is a 31-year old Team USA softball player who has recently been cut from the team for the new year. Her boyfriend, Matty (Owen Wilson), is a star pitcher for the Washington Nationals who is conceited and only thinks about himself. Lisa later meets George (Paul Rudd), a goofy businessman who was given Lisa’s phone number by a friend. Throughout the film you catch up on the romantic interests from this triangle as well as George’s impending investigation by his company that also involves his father (Jack Nicholson).
The film has been promoted as a comedy, but after sitting through the two hour film it came off as more of the perfect example of a ‘dramedy’. While there are many funny moments in the film, the scenes that stole the show were the dramatic ones. Jack Nicholson is only in about a quarter of the film, but the scenes he shares with Rudd are both hilariously funny but also very powerful and portrays why Nicholson is still at the top of his game at 73.
While the film has many strengths, it does feel a bit long. Most comedies run around 90-100 minutes in length, while How Do You Know runs a total of 116 minutes. Some of the scenes with Wilson’s character seem redundant, we get it, you are egotistical and don’t have a brain, and a few of the scenes with Witherspoon moping around seemed irrelevant to the plot. However, as a whole, the positives outweighed the negative.
The sad thing about this film is that it is tanking in the box office. None of the other films by Brooks have done too well out the gate, but longevity at the box office has helped (i.e. As Good As It Gets). However, How Do You Know has been sliding down the top ten the past few weeks and has slowly slinked out of the theaters as well.
If you can catch the film at the theaters or at the dollar theaters when the film gets there, How Do You Know is a quirky little film that should be a cult classic in years to come.
Final Grade: 8.5/10