Sarah Jessica Parker (SJP for short) in 2011 is one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood. If you look at her back catalogue, it is not films like Hocus Pocus or State and Main that got her to such a highly regarded status, but rather her turn as Carrie Bradshaw (later Preston for the most mind-numbing spoiler in history) in Sex and the City 1 and 2. Through this she has developed an army of loyal fans who will pay to see her in any film, regardless of quality. The Weinstein Company are obviously hoping that she can use her exceptional alchemy skills to turn I Don't Know How She It into box office gold.
Based on Allison Pearson's novel of the same name, I Don't Know How She Does It follows Kate Reddy (SJP) as the married mother of 2 who holds down a day job as a hedge-fund manager whilst 'juggling' responsibilities of parenthood. The pressure begins to show as Kate is given the opportunity of her career by snagging a meeting with Jack Abelhammer (Pierce Brosnan) and possibly win a huge account. At the same time her husband Richard (Greg Kinnear) is setting up his own business, forcing the couple to examine their priorities.
The first thing to say about this mooted 'romantic comedy' is that it is neither romantic, nor funny. At all. In fact throughout the (what feels like too long) 90 minute running time, there is a handful (at most) of humorous moments. The rest of the 'comedy' is created using the most simplistic children's film approach of funny faces and clown-like scoring. SJP is basically playing Carrie from Sex and the City again (complete with annoying voice-over), but without the edge that made that character so popular. The supporting cast might as well not exist and have no depth, because this is the SJP show. She goes from one 'wacky' misadventure to another, while the whole time everyone around her asks 'How do you do it?'
The point of romantic comedies is simple and formulaic, but that's because it works. I Don't Know How She Does It dispenses with this formula and gives us the story of how hard it is for a woman in a man's world, trying to raise kids and succeed in her career. On the face of it, this is an interesting idea that should be discussed, however ,the film immediately dispenses with any real discussion of the pitfalls of living this duel life and SJP is shown to be a homemaker who might also play at being a businesswoman. Even Olivia Munn's at first interesting character Momo rejects her 'cold, career-driven life' in favour of unexpected motherhood.
Her character's choice of profession is also laughable. We are led to believe in this fantasy world, that working in finance is actually a noble profession, rather than the corrupt 'greed is good' mob that in reality caused the biggest financial crisis in decades. This leaves the audience to draw the conclusion that money trumps family in the priority stakes, as both husband and wife refuse to give up their jobs. How this is supposed to relate to the average family unit is a joke in itself, but I suppose in SJP we're supposed to trust.
Surrounded by sycophantic two-dimensional supporting characters, with a list of decisions that puts money firmly at the top of the agenda, I Don't Know How She Does It is an abhorrent, disgusting film of no note. Add to that the failure to even achieve the basic plot points of a romantic comedy and this stands as one of the worst excuses of a film in many years. SJP is one of the highest paid actresses in the world, with millions of adoring fans who worship her icon status as the face of capitalism whilst simultaneously insulting women all over the world by holding back her gender through said self-created status. So the question really is 'how does she get away with it?'