“How Do You Know?” Review by Sarah Shepherd

Posted on June 26, 2011

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Check out the poster for this movie.

Naturally, I could not wait to see it! Just the sight of beautiful and talented Reese starring with the love of my life since Clueless (Paul Rudd) got me a bit excited. And I wasn’t disappointed.

The movie opens with a little tomboy girl (welcome to my childhood) smashing a chubby bully at tee-ball. Yeh girl power.  Enter Lisa (Witherspoon), a softball extraordinaire who has spent the better part of her 20s playing softball for the US national team. It quickly turns out, though, this can’t last forever.  To “let off steam”, she occasionally visits Owen Wilson, a.k.a. Matty’s, boudoir. We are soon introduced to George (Rudd), though, and so the real romance begins.

Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd.

Despite being void of any real storyline ups and downs, this movie was awesome. It had all the features of a good romantic comedy—unlike the rubbish we have been stuck with recently like Something Borrowed, No Strings Attached (ok, this one wasn’t toooo bad), Going the Distance and Life As We Know It.  I won’t go into the details of the plot, because there is no need – if you have ever seen a romantic comedy, you pretty much already know.  It had romance, humour, amazing hair-dos, a cheesey nothing-to-lose-so-I’m-going-to-tell-a-soppy-inspirational-story scene, loveable characters and (SPOILER ALERT) a happy ending.

The (quality) magazine New Idea reviewed the movie as ‘ten years too late’.  But this is what I have been waiting for! Movies such as Love Actually only come round once in a while – I’ll admit that. And I’m defs not saying it was anywhere near that league! But how long has it been since the general romantic comedy heyday of 10 Things I Hate About You, When Harry Met Sally, She’s All That, Never Been Kissed, oh I could go on all day! I can’t remember the last time a good romantic comedy akin to these was released. I’d probably say the closest have been Forgetting Sarah Marshall or I Love You Man (yep, Paul Rudd, marry me).  How Do You Know? doesn’t have the same level of humour as these smashes but I wanted warm and fuzzies, and warm and fuzzies I got.  Importantly, the film lacked any real bad guy, thus restoring my faith in men. Nay, in humanity.  The director, James L. Brooks, who has developed numerous Simpsons episodes and wrote Spanglish (an underrated and fantastic comedy drama from 2004) has hit the “What is missing from my life?” nail on the head.

Rudd and Jack Nicholson.

The characters made this movie.  Lisa is effortlessly portrayed by Witherspoon. A softball star is not your normal journalist/magazine editor/high school cheerleader/law student/artist lead-female role you would expect from a romantic comedy. Witherspoon is probably best-known for the girly blonde but legally-savvy role of Elle Woods (Legally Blonde).  However, portraying the “girl next-door” is easy for her as she rocks out a sexy red dress and fully embodies a Guinness-loving softball has-been.  Paul Rudd gets drunk, sings into a lamp like a total cutie and is quickly ‘transfixed’ by Lisa, while struggling through issues with his dad Charles (Jack Nicholson) in a side story that provides a few giggles. Matty is clearly meant to be the douche, sleaze-bag ‘bad guy’ – he has a walk-in cupboard with different-sized pink tracksuits for his conquests to wear home.  But he soon realises (in one of the funnier moments of the film) he is in love. And he tries so damn hard to be in love and to be the good boyfriend; as Lisa says, he doesn’t do anything wrong!  And so the point of the movie is this: How does Reese know who to pick??

I did watch this movie after having a horrific weekend watching The Romantics, one of the most awful films I have seen. So I may have just been comparing it to that. But I don’t think so. I think it really was awesome. And my boyfriend thinks so to, so boys, get on board. It’s one of those movies that you actually might buy on DVD. I think I’m going to watch it again now.

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Posted in: Movies