The promise of the women’s liberation movement was that women everywhere would be able to have it all. Being a mother, wife and having a career would all be within their reach, once male perceptions were changed and inequalities in the workplace were addressed. The problem was that once they got it all, many realized that maybe it was a bit too much. This is the problem facing Kate Reddy in I Don’t Know How She Does It, a film that wants to have it all as well. Director Douglas McGrath strives for, and for the most part succeeds in delivering, laughs, poignancy and a bit of heart.
Kate (Sarah Jessica Parker) never met a deadline she couldn’t meet, whether it was getting a proposal in on time at the investment firm where she works or pulling together a sweet treat for her daughter’s school bake sale. However, her juggling capabilities are put to the test when a proposal of hers catches the eye of Jack Abelhammer (Pierce Brosnan), a New York financer, which means she’ll be traveling from her Boston home to the Big Apple a few times a week. How she’ll be able to do this, meet her children’s needs and support her husband (Greg Kinnear), who’s embarking on a new professional project of his own, is anybody’s guess.
With the film running a bit over 90 minutes, McGrath keeps things moving at a nice pace, delivering a steady stream of laughs and crises while Parker does a good job of keeping it all grounded. A far cry from her Carrie Bradshaw character, who would regard Kate as a bit of a fool, the actress finds the right tone as she has us sympathizing with her character but not pitying her, while her ability to sell a physical gag comes in handy. Wisely, a potential romantic subplot between Kate and Jack is handled tactfully. While Don’t Know might not be regarded as heavy lifting, it does serve as an entertaining reminder that sometimes having less is the secret to having it all.
Contact Chuck Koplinski at firstname.lastname@example.org.