A little overly cutesy at times, "I Don't Know How She Does It" stars Sarah Jessica Parker as Kate Reddy, a woman who spends most of her waking life trying to achieve a balance between a high-powered financial gig, being a parent and being a wife.
Based upon Allison Pearson's 2002 best-seller (adapted by Aline Brosh McKenna of "Devil Wears Prada) and directed by Douglas McGrath, the picture is straightforward and doesn't go on too much of a story beyond Kate trying to balance life with husband Richard (Greg Kinnear) and those at work (including Kelsey Grammer and Pierce Brosnan.) There's a number of little mishaps (she gets lice and realizes it a meeting) and supporting characters that revolve around Kate (including Olivia Munn and Christina Hendricks, both of whom would have made a very appealing lead.)
Still, it all begs the question: why present it all as a fantasy? Problems in the film are solved relatively easily, and it's difficult to feel a great deal of sympathy for Parker's hedge fund manager, who lives in a very pricey brownstone/townhouse.
There's cutesy moments (internal dialogue, little cutaways/asides) and wacky bits, but why couldn't the movie be toned down a little more towards what is reality for most people these days - it would have possibly lead towards a more compelling movie, as these characters are not making tough choices as much as they are making the kind of choices characters make on "Must See Thursday TV". Maybe some more difficulty for the characters would have taken away from the intent of being a comedy, but the characters need a bit more in the way of real obstacles - without them, the movie starts to feel sitcom-y.
Parker is fine in the role, but it's nothing out of the ordinary for her, and she can do this on autopilot. Munn is genuinely amusing as her steely assistant, and Hendricks is enjoyable as her pal, but both are underused. Kinnear and Brosnan are amusing, but they also feel like they're coasting.
"I Don't Know How She Does It" could have been a genuine, involving exploration of how women balance their lives these days. Instead, the film is cutesy and a bit too far removed from reality. A few moments here-and-there shine, but this is primarily going to appeal to Parker's "Sex and the City" fans.
VIDEO: The film is given a satisfactory 1.85:1 (1080p) presentation by Weinstein Home Entertainment. Sharpness and detail are respectable, as while the presentation was not rock-solid, it at least looked crisp and clean throughout the majority of the running time. A little bit of edge enhancement was seen at times, but the picture otherwise appeared clean, with warm, accurate colors.
SOUND: The film's DTS-HD 5.1 presentation is - as expected - the bare basics and largely dialogue-driven.
EXTRAS: Conversation with author Allison Pearson.
Final Thoughts: Likely mainly to appeal to "Sex and the City" fans, "I Don't Know" would have been improved had it been a little more grounded and less cutesy. Some of the supporting performances are a highlight. The Blu-Ray offers fine audio/video, but next-to-no supplements.
The Film B-