Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 37
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

THIS IS HOW SHE DOES IT: By juggling several tasks at one time, Kate (Sarah Jessica Parker) frenetically tries to satisfy the demands of her high pressure job with the demands of her husband and children. See the movie to find out how it all turns out.

I Don’t Know How She Does It: Mother Juggles Job and Family in Female Empowerment Comedy

Kam Williams

Kate Reddy (Sarah Jessica Parker) is a successful Boston investment banker whose boss (Kelsey Grammer) has recommended that she receive a big promotion. The problem is that the new position will involve longer hours and frequent overnight stays in New York. However, her present job is already taking a toll on workaholic Kate’s stressed-out family life.

For instance, her 2-year-old son Ben, (Theodore and Julius Goldberg), has stronger ties with his nanny (Jessica Szohr) than with Kate. Meanwhile, her daughter Emily (Emma Rayne Lyle) has grown so resentful of her mother’s frequent trips that the neglected 9-year-old has stopped speaking to her mother.

Even Kate’s relationship with her architect husband (Greg Kinnear) has grown increasingly strained, since more of the childcare has fallen on his shoulders. Nevertheless, she decides to accept the prestigious assignment which will have her working closely with Jack Abelhammer (Pierce Brosnan), a dashing and available widower in the company’s Manhattan office.

Thus unfolds I Don’t Know How She Does It, a breezy situation comedy directed by Oscar nominee Douglas McGrath. Based on British novelist Allison Pearson’s best-seller of the same name, the film is reminiscent of Bridget Jones’ Diary, because it revolves around a series of pithy journal entries that are narrated by our introspective protagonist.

Kate periodically shares her narration with a coterie of support characters who are quick with colorful quips or observational insights. such as those from her best friend Allison, (Christina Hendricks); her assistant, Momo (Olivia Munn); and Wendy (Busy Philipps), a spoiled-stay-at-home mom.

Most of the jokes reflect a look at life from a distinctly female point of view. For example when Momo warns Kate not to end a business email with “XO” because Jack might misread the notation as a romantic proposition (i.e. a kiss and a hug). The advice is heeded, but the plot thickens anyway, when lonely Jack predictably begins to develop feelings for Kate.

Will Kate fend off his advances, or will the shuttling back and forth only place her marriage further in jeopardy? The answer ultimately proves far less pertinent than the question of whether women in general ought to be fretting about juggling the competing demands of family and career.

An intriguing feminist statement that suggests that trying to be more like a man might be a waste of a woman.

Excellent (3 stars). Rated PG-13 for profanity and sexual references. Running time: 89 minutes. Studio: The Weinstein Company.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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