US Release Date: 09-16-2011
Directed by: Douglas McGrath
- Sarah Jessica Parker, as
- Kate Reddy
- Pierce Brosnan, as
- Jack Abelhammer
- Greg Kinnear, as
- Richard Reddy
- Christina Hendricks, as
- Allison Henderson
- Kelsey Grammer, as
- Clark Cooper
- Seth Meyers, as
- Chris Bunce
- Olivia Munn, as
- Momo Hahn
- Jane Curtin, as
- Marla Reddy
- Mark Blum, as
- Lew Reddy
- Busy Philipps, as
- Wendy Best
- Sarah Shahi, as
- Janine LoPietro
- Jessica Szohr as
Sarah Jessica Parker and Olivia Munn in I don't know how she does it.
The response to the title of this movie is simple. She doesn't do it. In fact, the title is almost laughable. Here's how she "does it". She pushes off 90% of the responsibility of raising her kids onto her nanny and her husband. I might have bought into the title if she worked a minimum wage job, had to scrounge to pay for daycare, didn't have a personal assistant to do her grunt work, and wasn't married to a man who is willing to shoulder more than his fair share of the parenting.
Sarah Jessica Parker stars as Kate Reddy, a financial manager in Boston. She's married and has two kids. Her job requires long hours and lots of travel, particularly when she lands a new account with New York City based Jack Abelhammer. The dilemma of the movie is supposed to be, how can she be a good wife, mother and businesswoman all at the same time. Can she balance all three aspects of her life without losing her job or her husband or her kids?
My response to that question is, no, she can't. She chooses her job over her husband and her kids time after time after time. She goes on and on in the film about how she does things for her kids, but the biggest thing she's shown doing for them is buying a pie and pretending she baked it for the school bake sale. She's more concerned with what the other mothers at the school think of her than she is about actually spending time with her kids.
I'm sure people will read my attitude as being sexist, but it's really not. If she wants to be a dedicated financial manager then more power to her. If that's her choice though, she should either A, not have had children or B, not pretend that she's a fantastic mother, accept that she's not going to be around for important moments in their lives, be honest with her husband that she's not going to be around, and let him know that he's going to have to shoulder more of the parenting responsibility instead of just dumping it all on him. And if my attitude is considered sexist, it's no more so than the movie's tagline, which is "If it were easy, men would do it too."
Okay, putting my opinion of Kate aside, there are some funny moments here. It's not laugh-a-minute or even as funny as it's trying to be, but it is mildly amusing from time to time, mainly thanks to the supporting cast. Parker plays the same character she always plays, which is basically a variation of Carrie Bradshaw, only as a financial manager instead of a writer. Some of the biggest laughs come from Olivia Munn as Momo, Kate's assistant, with her robotic work ethic and disdain of emotion. Seth Meyers is also funny as a slimy co-worker of Kate's who is ready to swoop in and steal any of her work. The rest of the men in the film are mostly bland and as in many chick flicks, are merely there to support the women.
As a single, childless man, clearly I'm not this movie's target audience. Perhaps married, working mothers will find more to enjoy in it. Although, I would think that a real working mother would think that Kate has it pretty easy.
Pierce Brosnan and Sarah Jessica Parker in I Don't Know How She Does It
Kate Reddy is a mess not because she is overwhelmed by her professional life conflicting with her personal life. She is a mess because she has no clue what she wants. As early 21st century American birth control activist Margaret Sanger once said, “No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.”
Kate chose to be a mother, but acts as if she did not plan for it. Her job takes her away from her children for days at a time, every week. Being a mother is not a part time job. Author Jodi Picoult wrote in Sister’s Keeper, “(24/7) once you sign on to be a mother, that's the only shift they offer.”
A woman does not have to have children but if she does she needs to commit to them. Like Scott, I felt Kate should not have had children if her career was going to take precedence. “There's a time to work, there's a time to be young and crazy, and there should be a time to enjoy motherhood.”-Actress, Diane Kruger.
As much as Oprah may preach women can have it all, Kate demonstrates that they cannot, at least not all at once. No matter how much she tries, Kate cannot stop thinking about work when she is with her kids or about her kids when she is at work. “When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”-Actress, Sophia Loren,
I use these quotes by famous women to demonstrate that motherhood is a major undertaking that should never be entered into lightly. Kate justifies her time away from her children because of the advancement in her career. Is her increased income more important than her presence in her children’s life? “If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much.”-Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
As Scott wrote, Kate has it easier than most mothers. She has a helpful husband, a high paying job and the means to hire people to watch her children. She creates all of her own problems. I did not feel the slightest amount of pity for her. She has a home filled with a loving family waiting for her to enjoy, while she only thinks of herself. Of course she finally learns that lesson, but it is a lesson that should have been obvious from the start.
I saved my favorite maternal quote for last and it partially describes Kate, “Mothers are all slightly insane.” -J.D. Salinger.
Men throughout history have been the ones to leave home to bring back food or money. We understand the importance of us being there for our families but we also know they need to have food and shelter that a job provides. There is no angst in doing this, even if we wish we were home more often. We just do it.
When have you heard a man brag about working 50 hours a week, coaching his sons little league team, mowing the lawn and still having the energy to make love to his wife. I never have, because all of those things are expected of us. When a woman plays the role of the family bread winner she expects the world to call her Wonder Woman. So what that she worked nine hours today? Her family still needs to be fed, the kids bathed and her husband still expects some lovin. Women can be the bread winner all they want. I do not care. I just wish they would quit acting as if it is some great accomplishment no one has ever done before.
Photos © Copyright The Weinstein Company (2011)