I Don’t Know How She Does It (Blu-ray)
I DON’T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT is a peak into the life of a working mother in Boston that’s juggling a successful career, a husband starting his own business, two little kids and a boss that’s getting a little too close. Even without the presence of star Sarah Jessica Parker, the best way to describe the film is that it’s Sex and the City for working mothers. Although she’s constantly flustered with the conflicting demands her children and her job put on her, she still tries to stay “fabulous” (I hate that word, but it’s over-used in the SATC world). The film is too quick to make any real statements about motherhood or the challenges working mothers face in the business world, but it’s a decent peak into a life that isn’t normally represented in film.
The peak in question is a three month look at Kate (Parker), who gets a chance to work closely with her boss’s boss, Jack (Pierce Brosnan) on a project that will further her career. At the same time, her husband (Greg Kinnear) is working on a big deal that will jump start his struggling start-up company. And of course, their two kids are still growing up and having all the normal problems that a 2 and 9 year-old would have.
We see a lot of the same clichés we’d see if the roles were reversed and it was a man dealing with these issues. Kate’s husband seems understanding at times and too demanding of her time at others. Her boss seems too eager to get close to her and her kids have no comprehension of why their mother is working all the time. At some point, the audience just wants to smack her husband, boss and kids and remind them that her family needs money, she’s married and she’s doing it so they can afford to have birthday parties and nice things (respectively). But it’s hard to get too frustrated with the events because nothing happens to the point of devastation. We’re more there for a look into her life as opposed to watching her break down. Her husband deals with it, her boss gets over it and her kids snap out of it.
As alluded to earlier, the short runtime and multiple storylines held the film back from making any greater points about women in the workplace. Director Douglas McGrath uses interview cut scenes with Kate’s best friend (Christina Hendricks) and two of her co-workers (Seth Meyers, Olivia Munn) that proved to be a very odd and awkward technique for this kind of film. The cut scenes focused more on the struggles women have in the workplace, but the rest of the movie didn’t really deal with that. There’s a lot to say on the subject and the interview scenes briefly discussed some of the more sensitive topics, but because they weren’t fully explored, they served to be more of a distraction than anything.
Despite all of the film’s problems, I found myself drawn into Kate’s world. SJP can be annoying at times, but here she seemed down to earth and likeable. I was pulling for her to come out of the three months unscathed and although the ending seemed to contradict what they had set up earlier in the film, I was pleased when everything wrapped up nicely. However, the film needed more focus and attention to be to be taken as seriously as it tried to come off.
Video: This is actually a nice transfer from Anchor Bay, with the dark colors coming through nicely.
Audio: No complaints on the audio.
A Conversation with Best-Selling Author Allison Pearson (7:01): This is simply a brief conversation with the author. It’s more of a fluff piece without any real insight or thought-provoking questions.