How Do You Know

I missed How Do You Know when it was in the theatres the other month. There were reasons for that – the short stay in the cinemas, the poor reviews and the issue of the question mark (or lack thereof). I decided to bite the bullet this week, however, and rent the Blu ray. It was especially rainy.

Lisa (Reese Witherspoon) is a softball player who has just reached a critical birthday and has been cut from the squad. She only, however, dates fellow sporty people and so, for consolation, spends time in a completely meaningless relationship with a baseball player Matty (Owen Wilson), whose house has all the warmth of Selfridges. Clothes, complete with shop labels, fill the cupboards in order of size and colour. And then we have George (Paul Rudd), a businessman who is taking the legal rap for the failings of his father (Jack Nicholson). It is up to Lisa – who shall she pick? The rich but shallow sportsman who may or may not be discovering his inner self? Or the rich businessman who’s turning his back on his opulent heritage and falling for the sporty girl who only dates sporty people or – if push comes to shove – men with money.

There’s not much more to the plot than that and there’s little more insight into the characterisation than that. What is more interesting is the budget – $120 million was spent on How Do You Know. Where it went, apart from some big salaries, is not clear. What is certain is that it was never going to make it back.

I find it difficult to disparage a movie with Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd in it – both actors have a charisma and charm that can save films. The fact that they didn’t save this one is testament to the size of the paycheck and the quality of the script. Jack Nicholson is a scene stealer as always but there’s nothing and noone to steal the scene from. There’s not much to say about Reese Witherspoon except that she presents Reese Witherspoon.

There were moments of charm, mostly involving Owen Wilson’s efforts to uncover his heart. There was the occasional funny moment, notably the scene when Paul Rudd’s stalkery employee has a baby. But the stalkery element spoilt it. The scenery – Washington DC – looked quite good.

But when all’s done and dusted, I will always find myself returning to the matter of the question mark or, rather, the absent question mark…

I’m not able to tell you about the features on the Blu ray because I was too keen to get it back to the shop to watch them.

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