How Do You Know

If I say "I really LIKE Reese Witherspoon," or "I really LIKE Paul Rudd," you automatically expect, "but..... " so here it is. This is a sweetly romantic comedy that hits all its marks: it has likable stars, an interesting script and no actual bad guys; it uses New York City neighborhoods so well I could almost live there myself. But... I just wish that the script wasn't overloaded with fortune-cookie type affirmations; it is trying to appear deeper than it is.

Writer/director James L Brooks seems to be resting on his laurels ("Terms of Endearment" and "Broadcast News") and his considerable clout must be why he was able to assemble this cast:
  • Reese Witherspoon (Academy Award for "Walk the Line") is a professional softball player who is unexpectedly cut from the team. She has never dated a non-athlete.
  • Paul Rudd ("I Love You, Man") works for his wealthy father in a multinational corporation. Problem is, he has just been subpoenaed to testify about a situation he's never heard of.
  • Owen Wilson ("Marley and Me") is a highly-successful baseball player who falls for our heroine. He is massively egotistical and blithely unaware of it.
  • Jack Nicholson ("The Bucket List") is the businessman/father whom we suspect should have been subpoenaed.
  • Kathryn Hahn ("Revolutionary Road") is Rudd's secretary. She knows some secrets but he isn't allowed to hear them until after he testifies. Oh, and she is pregnant and has no husband...
Even though it is pleasant enough, this film has no bite. The dialogue is spoken in quiet tones and there are a lot of perplexed looks and wryly sincere smiles, but Brooks missed his chance to make some commentary on the pitfalls of dating an egomaniac or Americans doing business in other countries.

I really wanted to LIKE this one...sigh...