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How Do You Know (8/10)
by Tony Medley
Run time 121 minutes
OK for children.
After his last effort, the debacle Spanglish
(2004), three time Oscarģ-winner Writer-Director-Producer James
Brooks has finally done himself proud with this romantic comedy.
Lisa (Reese Witherspoon) gets dumped from the U.S.
baseball team and goes into a funk. But she finds herself pursued by
Matty (Owen Wilson), a serial-womanizing major league pitcher who earns
$14 million a year, and George (Paul Rudd), a corporate executive who
has lost his position with his fatherí firm because he is the target of
a federal investigation.
Backing them up in supporting roles are Jack
Nicholson as Georgeís father, Charles, and Kathryn Hahn as Georgeís
assistant, Annie. Their sparkling performances add immensely to the
enjoyment of the film.
But, good as they are, the three leads make this
something special. Witherspoon gives a perfect, Doris Day-type
performance as the woman in the middle, but itís the comedic talents of
Rudd and Wilson that turn this into a movie that stands with some of the
better romcoms of history, like Pillow Talk (1959). Maybe itís
not up to When Harry Met Sally (1989), but itís a lot better than
Pretty Woman (1990). Rudd and Wilson are very funny and fine
actors to boot. Wilson has been in a lot of horrible movies, too many to
mention, but Iíve always enjoyed his performances. Rudd, too, has been
in movies even worse than Wilsonís, like Anchorman (2004),
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), and the truly deplorable
I Love You, Man (2009). Like Wilson, he got more out of the scripts
and directing than they deserved.
At long last both Wilson and Rudd get to work with
a terrific script and the result is a thoroughly entertaining film, even
if it is a half hour too long. I hope, now that they have been in a
quality film, they will both pick their projects more carefully from now
on. They are good enough that they can afford to be selective.
Finally, a bit of movie trivia. How do you know?
According to Rudd, there was line in the film that didnít make the final
cut that answered that question, ďYou are able to be more yourself than
you ever thought possible when youíre in the company of this person.Ē
According to Nicholson, however, the time you know is when you get a
lawyer to draft a prenup.
December 15, 2010