Saturday, 29 January 2011



Wouldn't you know, a rom-com with smarts.

12A, 121 Minutes. Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson & Jack Nicholson. Director: James L. Brooks. Screenplay: James L. Brooks

Don't you know a good romantic comedy when you see it? In the melting pot of formulaic stories these days it's hard to find something of substance. Until, that is you get a director is willing to experiment with new plots and themes. Often times your look at movies today and wonder if this is 'As Good As It Gets' until the director of this classic re-teams with legend Jack Nicholson and others for more movie magic. Director, James L. Brooks the genius behind the pen of 'The Simpsons' lets his mind get the better of his work once again with 'How Do You Know' a comedy with big, stupid laughs but growth and maturity also. It's like 'As Good As It Gets' for the younger generation as Brooks tries to write them a better story.

The story centres around four characters and their crossover lives. Reese Witherspoon plays a great softball player who's dreams are shattered. She meets Paul Rudd, who plays a man down on his luck two, unemployed, running out of money and about to be indicted, taking the wrap for his Dad, played by, don't you know? Jack. Although Witherspoon and Rudd don't hit it off right away, her sensational sass and his classic charm make for some great chemistry and choice moments.

The trouble is Witherspoon is holding on to her sport, dating Owen Wilson, a millionaire who sits on the bench and the fence, when it comes to relationships. Man of the moment, Wilson is hilarious in this. He plays a lovable Lothario, devoid of a conscience but conscious of charisma. Everything he says is a one-liner, with it's absurd appeal. Everything he does is comedy magic in all his bag of tricks. Your not supposed to like bad guys, but with this character you can see why women do.

Jack Nicholson is back to his classic, scary, intimidating best, but he shows heart two, just like when he asked for better the last time him and Brooks got it together. Witherspoon and Rudd lead perfectly however, as their characters lives follow a similar path as they meet in the middle, but the question is, will they carry on down the road together? You can't deny Reese's class or the pieces of genuine grace and elegance. As for Rudd he once again shows that no one can play the leading man in hopeful romantic comedies like him. This everyman, evoking talent is upping his game with every movie. John Cusack has met his match.

Thanks to Brooks equally great way of capturing the American city feel with it's inhabitants privater lives this film looks great. Romantic and warm, the Virginian backdrop really draws you in. While support comes in all sorts of ways. From available assistants to accommodating doormen and patient bus drivers at your service. From good news to bad there are some real tender moments touching this picture two.

'How Do You Know' when you've found a great film for the weekend? You know when you have a mix of comedy and drama with warmth and heart. From the physical humour to the strong dialogue this film is all knowing. Sure there are the lulls and the times it feels all over the place but then Brooks ties it all together, awaking a story we can all enjoy. Sure this movie may not stay with you, but it was sure nice to know it. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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