Movie review: ‘How Do You Know’ a romantic comedy with grown-up imperfections
The cosmic question at the heart of James L. Brooks’ latest, appealingly quirky romantic comedy is “How Do You Know.”
Although the writer-director of such grown-up comedies as “Broadcast News,” “As Good As It Gets” and “Spanglish” fails to punctuate his latest properly (something to do with an old Hollywood superstition about an ill fate for movies with question marks in their titles), he does offer up some pointed and poignant inquiries into the nature of love, romantic fate and commitment.
“How Do You Know,” like most of Brooks’ so-called “dramadies,” features decent but flawed characters and a messy, loose-ends plotline that aptly reflects modern life with all its funny and heartbreaking imperfections.
The unspoken extension of the film’s title query is: how do you know when you’re really, truly in love?
And Brooks employs a well-scrubbed trio of highly likable, dazzlingly photogenic and apparently expensive stars (reported payroll: $50 million) to pursue that question through a thoughtful and complex if meandering narrative.
It all starts as we meet Lisa (Reese Witherspoon, dithering but sexy), an Olympic-caliber softball player who, at 27, is unceremoniously cut from the U.S. national team. Uncertain about her future, and equally uncertain about her romantic fling with playboy Washington Nationals pitcher Matty (Owen Wilson, a charming rascal), Lisa agrees to a quicky blind date with businessman George (Paul Rudd, a likable everyman).
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