Movie Briefs: I Don’t Know How She Does It

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Movie Briefs: I Don’t Know How She Does It

The takeaway from the latest Sarah Jessica Parker movie, I Don’t Know How She Does It, will inevitably be this: there are Salons that will de-louse you and your children? Holy cow. Is that really true? Is it possible that a city big enough to have lice salons would also have 24-hour bakeries that would provide homeade-ish looking cookies and pies for the kids’ school bake sale? Apparently not. The lack of said artisanal desserts kicks the movie off with what feels like a contrived mommy-panic.

This movie will likely quickly fade among the rest of the mommy war opuses it feels like (Nanny Diaries et al). A charitable word for it would be “timeless” (this battle seems to have been raging for quite some time, pitting the Stay at Homes vs the Work Outside the Home), but a more accurate word would be “Eighties.” Nothing about it feels fresh. Banking? They might as well work in a newsroom it feels so anachronistic. The Manhattan and Boston workscapes seem right out of Working Girl  and Baby Boom (which were great movies, partly for their willingness to place themselves squarely in their time, Bridge and Tunnel Hair and all).

SJP’s Kate is still trotting out “mammogram” as the excuse she gives the boss (Kelsey Grammer) when he comments on her office tardiness. Really? (Bosses actually comment on the tardiness of hedge fund execs, male or female?) The mean stay-at-home mommies (“momsters”) bake and work out obsessively. Her two kids are adorable moppets, but the one playing kindergarten and circle time is going to need botox if she plans to work that demo (that girl is nine if she’s a day).

There are dust-ups along the way. The kids come down with the aforementioned lice. SJP scratches her way through a corporate pitch meeting like Lucille Ball at her “zaniest.” She has to abandon Thanksgiving weekend for work. (Sorry, spoiler.) Pay attention when she tells the husband (Greg Kinnear) to get bids on replacing the stair rug. You’ll congratulate yourself for a Chekhov’s Carpet moment later. Her project partner Pierce Brosnan can’t help falling for her adorable girlish charm, but she still loves her husband.

Eventually, Kate learns she can have it all: good husband with a job; good job; and two happily well-adjusted children. It’s a Sarah Jessica Parker movie for heaven’s sake. What did you think Chekhov was gonna do with that carpet?

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