How Do You Know

How Do You Know

1.8 5
Director: James L. Brooks

Cast: James L. Brooks, Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson


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Director James L. Brooks returns to the helm for this ensemble comedy starring Reese Witherspoon, Jack Nicholson, Paul Rudd, and Owen Wilson, which centers on the story of a passionate athlete who finds herself romantically torn between a narcissistic baseball star and a straight-laced businessman. As far back as Lisa (Witherspoon) canSee more details below


Director James L. Brooks returns to the helm for this ensemble comedy starring Reese Witherspoon, Jack Nicholson, Paul Rudd, and Owen Wilson, which centers on the story of a passionate athlete who finds herself romantically torn between a narcissistic baseball star and a straight-laced businessman. As far back as Lisa (Witherspoon) can remember, her life has been defined by sports. Then, in the blink of an eye, she's cut from the team. With her identity in crisis as she attempts to regain her footing in life, Lisa begins dating Matty (Wilson), a Major League Baseball pitcher and notorious womanizer. Meanwhile, terminally honest businessman George (Rudd) finds himself on the road to financial ruin or worse after being wrongly implicated in a financial crime. As George struggles to clear his name and reconcile his turbulent relationship with his father, Charles (Nicholson), a chance meeting with Lisa at the lowest point in both of their lives leaves him optimistic that things may work out after all. Meanwhile, Lisa and George both realize that the only thing that's certain about the future is that we never know what fate has in store for us.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
While it's true that James L. Brooks may have had more success in both television and movies than any other writer/producer/director in the last four decades, it's also fair to say that his recent output hasn't come close to matching his initial cinematic efforts. Terms of Endearment and Broadcast News were as good a one-two punch as just about any filmmaker could hope for, displaying an uncanny knack for bringing his smart, character-based sitcom style to the big screen. How Do You Know, a romantic comedy starring Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, and Owen Wilson, isn't anywhere near as good as Brooks' best, but it's much more enjoyable than anything he's done since those early masterworks. Lisa (Witherspoon) devoted her life to playing softball, and has become the most beloved player on the U.S. national team -- but a new coach decides she's too old and too slow and cuts her. With unexpected free time on her hands, she finds herself in a relationship with Matty (Wilson), a fun-loving big-league pitcher whose idea of being a good guy involves keeping a stash of pink sweat suits in his apartment so that his various female conquests can avoid an unflattering walk of shame the next morning. However, Matty isn't the only new guy in Lisa's life. There's also George (Rudd), a businessman who recently discovered that the government may put him behind bars for his company's unethical dealings. Lisa finds herself emotionally drawn to the inherently sweet George, even as she deepens her commitment to the possibly maturing Matty. The pleasures in How Do You Know are all in the acting, particularly by Owen Wilson, who hasn't been this outright enjoyable since his cameo in Meet the Parents. The character could easily be nothing more than a collection of the most tired jock stereotypes -- the testosterone-laden meathead whose fame allows his narcissism to metastasize -- but Wilson is so boyishly charming, and his comic timing so honed, that Matty stays thoroughly likable even when he's at his most infuriating. In fact, likable is what Brooks does best at this point in his career, and with that in mind, it's amazing that it has taken this long for him to work with Paul Rudd, an actor so modestly charming that he can hold a picture together just through the sheer force of goodwill. Brooks takes our sympathies with Rudd to the breaking point, though -- George is such a nice guy that his neuroses are supposed to seem endearing when in fact they're annoying. Witherspoon is also a performer capable of charming audiences, and she pulls off her role with aplomb, bringing out the generally strong-willed Lisa's newfound insecurities with such ease that it's understandable why she stays with Matty even though she knows he's not the right guy for her. Still, it's hard to shake the feeling that the character is little more than a variation on Holly Hunter's Type-A firebrand from Broadcast News. In addition, Brooks' longtime cinematic collaborator Jack Nicholson shows up as George's morally compromised father, delivering an F-bomb-laden tirade that initially earned the film an R rating until cooler heads prevailed (the MPAA probably discovered their funny bone). And Kathryn Hahn savors every morsel of dialogue she gets as George's loyal secretary. At one point, Brooks was one of the finest screenwriters in Hollywood, but in recent years he's become one of its finest overwriters -- every character in the movie talks too much, and is too quick to talk about how he or she feels. However, that's not entirely a bad thing, since Brooks can still whip up massive amounts of often-humorous dialogue, and he's a secure enough director to let his actors make the laughs come from the characters and not the situations. It's easy to follow these characters along for the ride, even if you're not going to end up any place all that special.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Blooper Reel; Deleted Scenes; "Extra Innings"; Making-Of; Commentary with Filmmakers

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Reese Witherspoon Lisa
Paul Rudd George
Owen Wilson Matty
Jack Nicholson Charles
Kathryn Hahn Annie
Mark Linn-Baker Ron
Lenny Venito Al
Molly Price Coach Sally
Ron McLarty George's Lawyer
Shelley Conn Terry
Domenick Lombardozzi Bullpen Pitcher
John Tormey Doorman
Teyonah Parris Riva
Tony Shalhoub Psychiatrist
Dean Norris Softball Coach
Donna Dundon Annie's Mom
Cyrus Newitt Annie's Dad
William Blagrove Matty's Teammate
Andrew Wilson Matty's Teammate
David Gregory Matty's Teammate
Yuki Matsuzaki Tori
Bill McKinley Maitre d'
Jim Bouton Bullpen Coach
Tara Subkoff Subpoena Woman
Mary Gallagher Other Female Coach

Technical Credits
James L. Brooks Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Nick Angel Musical Direction/Supervision
Julie Ansell Producer
Shay Cunliffe Costumes/Costume Designer
Anthony Dunne Art Director
Peter Hliddal Sound Mixer
Janusz Kaminski Cinematographer
Francine Maisler Casting,Co-producer
Laurence Mark Producer
Richard Marks Co-producer,Editor
Amanda Moshay Associate Producer
Jeannine Oppewall Production Designer
Aldric La'Auli Porter Co-producer
Richard Sakai Executive Producer
Seth Sanders Associate Producer
John D. Schofield Executive Producer
Tracey Wadmore-Smith Editor
Paula Weinstein Producer
Hans Zimmer Score Composer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- How Do You Know
1. Scene 1 [6:46]
2. Scene 2 [6:21]
3. Scene 3 [:23]
4. Scene 4 [8:29]
5. Scene 5 [6:14]
6. Scene 6 [6:31]
7. Scene 7 [1:33]
8. Scene 8 [1:10]
9. Scene 9 [2:48]
10. Scene 10 [:06]
11. Scene 11 [6:27]
12. Scene 12 [3:36]
13. Scene 13 [:41]
14. Scene 14 [:18]
15. Scene 15 [4:02]
16. Scene 16 [1:33]


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