I Don't Know How She Does It Blu-ray
Were it not based on a pre-existing, best-selling novel, you might be forgiven for wondering if the title of this frankly insidious movie were a not-so-subtle dig at its leading lady’s career. Outside of the role of Sex and the City’s love starved fashionista Sarah Jessica Parker has consistently failed to pack them in to either the multiplex or the sofa, and yet continues to show up as top-billing in one insipid, vanilla rom-com after another.
Case in point, this frankly terrible adaptation of author Allison Pearson’s post-feminist take on motherhood in the new millennium, in which Ms. Parker offers up a blandly formulaic treatise on the perils of the working-mother (which primarily consist of getting a lot of different stains on your clothes, apparently), replete with gender politics that would have been considered outmoded in the Paleolithic era.
Parker plays the flustered, exhausted, and constantly on the verge of a nervous breakdown, Kate Reddy, a jet-setting financial analyst desperately trying to juggle her demanding job with her duties as a homemaker. As her husband, Richard, Greg Kinnear’s arc consists of gradually becoming more and more frustrated (while offering less and less assistance around the house). Richard is in the midst of trying to start his own small business, which according to this isn’t stressful or exhausting at all. No, in this world the women carry the burden while the men all play golf, never help with the children, generally complain, and are incapable of preparing even the most basic meal without the aide of a microwave.
It’s not that the script – penned by not untalented Aline Brosh McKenna (27 Dresses, The Devil Wears Prada) – doesn’t have a valid point of view about the double-standards applied to women, and in particular mothers, in the workforce. But rather that it works so hard to caricature the rest of the world in service to it. For a picture so self-inflated on its damning criticisms of the arbitrary judgments of others, it sure does make enough of its own. According to I Don’t Know… any woman who isn’t both a mother and a high-powered career women is painted as being somehow defective. Having no career makes you either a twenty-something layabout or a trophy wife with no character. No kids, and you are somehow an androgynous robot incapable of expressing genuine feelings (at least until you get pregnant anyway).
While somewhat gifted as a comic actress, Parker is given little in the way of actual comedy to work with. Much of the laughs are garnered from inviting you to mock stereotypes of obnoxious chauvinists, airhead bimbos, young people (those bastards!), and anyone else who might have had the temerity to make other choices regarding their lifestyle.
In leiu of any real jokes Parker’s hugely inflated presence just steamrolls its way through scene after scene, like that boulder from the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark, systematically obliterating any good will that might otherwise accrue by way of what we can only assume she believes to be earnestness. Breaking that up are direct-to-camera monologues delivered by Kate’s best friend Alison (the infinitely more appealing Christina Hendricks) rhetorically asking how indeed she does it? The more pressing question of why she feels the need to, given that clearly that nothing and no one is making her, never seems to enter either of their heads.
Blu-ray Special Features:
Just a single featurette: A conversation with best-selling author Alison Pearson.
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