Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’ Review: Why Did Sarah Jessica Parker Do It?

Oh wait, I do! Sarah Jessica Parker is trying to prove that she can play other roles besides Carrie Bradshaw, when really she just hasn’t found the right one yet.

‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’ is a 90-minute long, unfunny sitcom exploiting the idea behind mommy guilt and career woman syndrome. Mommy guilt is when the mother works (a lot) and feels guilty for leaving her children at home, even more so when the husband is also well invested in his career.

Kate (Sarah Jessica Parker) is an awkward financial executive, a wife, mother and the breadwinner in the family. She never appears ready for anything and throughout the whole movie her hair, make-up and sometimes wardrobe is a complete mess. Her husband (Greg Kinnear) and two young children miss her terribly when she has to travel for work, therefore having the plot center around the guilt trip. Kate hates being stuck between her family and career, yet she still doesn’t seem to have a grasp onto either.

Kate is definitely depicted more as a career woman than a mom in the film. She can’t resist traveling 2-3 days a week to meet with her firm’s newly acquired client, Jack (Pierce Brosnan, still breathtakingly handsome), who plays the all-mighty businessman nicely. Jack presents the possibility of something anew in Kate’s life, but its not carried out and never developed as another option.

The film tries to do interviews with its supporting cast throughout the film, which fails horribly. It worked in ‘When Harry Met Sally’ with the married couples and in ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ with the singles actively dating in Baltimore, but it just didn’t pan over well in this film. Kate’s best friend (Christina Hendricks) gushes that Kate can really do it all, while her dapper assistant Momo (scene-stealer Olivia Munn, can someone make this woman a star please?!) doesn’t understand why Kate can’t just quit the wife and mother thing and be career woman full time.

Screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna, who adapted the film ‘The Devil Wear Prada’ — which was popular among audiences and critics alike — but in ‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’ his characters aren’t as charismatic and the plot is just plain tedious. SJP does what she can do to engage her audience, but the piece-meal plot feels like the movie is as long as an unpopular bake sale.

Yes, there are some funny lines and cutesy moments, but there’s no way the story can amount to any surprise. The film is supposed to reiterate the fact that being a working mom isn’t a terrible thing and we can really have it all, when really it just reassures us we’re not so sure we want to see another film with SJP in it so soon.

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