I like Owen Wilson, I really do. Its probably out of deference to liking his general charm that How Do You Know was pushed down to eleven, so I could be sure that whilst Owen Wilson has already turned up on this list twice, he doesn’t make the top ten. As far as it goes I like
Albert Brooks too – Lost In America is one of my favourite films, James L. Brooks is alright- Broadcast News still holds up today (edit due to abject idiocy, see comments for details). Add to that a real appreciation of Reese Witherspoon and this film should not be in this list. The main problem is that the film posits a question, and so to answer said question Reese Witherspoon does pretty much this face all the way through the film. Its her characters “not sure” face.
With this cast, and James L.Books directing, number eleven promises an intelligent, revisit of romcom staples with an attractive, likeable cast. Does this plot description (thanks IMDB) look interesting?
“After being cut from the USA softball team and feeling a bit past her prime, Lisa finds herself evaluating her life and in the middle of a love triangle, as a corporate guy in crisis competes with her current, baseball-playing beau.”
In the forgettably named “How Do You Know” Reese Witherspoon just about convinces as the softball player, and in the comparison between her success and Owen Wilson’s pro-baseball players success there is a really interesting bit of gender politics. Completely missed in some business about toothbrushes. Paul Rudd, America’s favourite underachieving schlub, is the third point of this triangle, who appears to be taking part in a completely different movie with Jack Nicholson. Now Jack isn’t just phoning it in here, there is a yoghurt pot an a piece of string for his evil corporate machinator who is about to sacrifice his own son. Think James Murdoch.
And I did think James Murdoch unfortunately. And there is no way I am going to root for James Murdoch in a romcom. Or for that matter a pampered, spoiled baseball star. So I didn’t want our heroine to end up with either of the options, and quite quickly got a little tired of Reese’s softball player too. Sure I can understand why she is disappointed with being cut from the USA team, but every player knows that is a possibility. The problems of an amateur / professional sports player are pretty outside my experience, and are not made vaguely interesting here. The worst thing about “How Do You Know” is that it squanders so many good ideas and turns it into one of the drabbest romcoms in years.