Sarah Jessica Parker, Greg Kinnear,
Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Munn and Christina
Hendricks star in I Don't Know How She Does It, a
comedy from director Douglas McGrath (Emma,
Infamous) and producer Donna Gigliotti (The
Reader, Let Me In). Based on the critically
acclaimed bestseller by Allison Pearson, I Don't
Know How She Does It follows a Boston-based
working mother trying desperately to juggle
marriage, children, and a high-stress job. -- (C)
centered on the life of Kate Reddy, a finance
executive who is the breadwinner for her husband
and two kids.
Kate Reddy: [from
trailer] I love my work. Although sometimes I wish
I didn't love it so much.
Kate Reddy: Instead
of sleeping, I do the list.
If anyone out there
is desperate for another "Sex and the City" sequel
(anyone?), fear not: In "I Don't Know How She Does
It," Carrie Bradshaw finally settles down and
raises a family.
Sarah Jessica Parker is actually
playing a character named Kate Reddy, who
originated in a best-selling novel by Allison
Pearson. But from the wry narration to the girlish
mannerisms, Parker really does turn this film into
"Sex and the Kiddies."
On the bright side, it's
a lot more watchable than its awful trailer
indicates. Director Douglas McGrath ("Emma") and
screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears
Prada") are both pros, with a crucial sense of
empathy toward their hapless heroine.
of two, Kate is an investment manager whose
demanding job perpetually requires impossible
decisions: Does she please her husband, Richard
(Greg Kinnear), or her bosses, Clark (Kelsey
Grammer) and Jack (Pierce Brosnan)? Can she buy a
deli pie for her daughter's bake sale, or does she
have to make one from scratch?
Munn, Christina Hendricks and Jane Curtin nail
their roles as Kate's assistant, best friend and
disapproving mother-in-law, the male actors –
including Seth Meyers as her competitor - are
afterthoughts. Only the always-reliable Brosnan
finds some depth in his underwritten role.
again, this is very much Kate's story, and much to
their credit the filmmakers refuse to judge any of
They do wrap things up with
superficial ease, but they also find plenty of
humor and poignancy in parenthood.
At the same
time, they never shy away from the worry, guilt
and criticisms so many working mothers experience.
(If anything, they're too hard on stay-at-home
moms, as represented by a vapid Busy
Unfortunately, Parker infuses Kate -
a nonstop mess who's constantly apologizing - with
such frantic insecurity that she comes across more
as an anxious twentysomething than a 40-year-old
mother. It's Hendricks who provides the welcome
maturity, and I couldn't help wishing she had been
given the lead.
But as Richard reminds his
harried wife, "Sometimes okay has to be good
Magic Moment: Any parent who's ever
sung a lullaby over the phone will connect when
Kate serenades her daughter with "A Bushel and a