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I Don't Know How She Does It

Review by Melissa Christidis

i don't know how she does it

I Don't Know How She Does It

i don't know how she does it

Within several scenes of watching chick-flick I Don't Know How She Does It (sorry boys), it's quite evident to see how Sarah Jessica Parker "does it all" - after all, she's juggling a a six figure salary, personal assistant, a nanny on beckons call and a passive husband lacking any form of testosterone.

In fact, "Doing it all" tends to be quite "doable" when the plot is oh so predictable, set up to ensure that SJP gets the high-flying executive promo, wins the her estranged kids over and rekindles her romance with Mr. Pushover (Greg Kinnear), aka Hubbie.

I Don't Know How She Does It is the tale of an American working mother, juggling a high-flying finance executive role and domestic duties of running a household. The film portrays Kate Reddy (Sarah Jessica Parker) as a frantic woman trying to accomplish it all – kids, career, maintaining a corporate position.

The theme of the story ultimateley rests with how one is torn between family and work commitments - original, right? Well, perhaps if this film was launched back when SJP was rollerblading around in L.A Story with Steve Martin (Ah, the contrast of SJP playing a ditzy blonde to a working mummy!). Sadly, today, the subject matter is slightly dated.

Finding a balance between work and personal life is something we all deal with, and whilst I Don't Know How She Does It attempts to empower women to do it all, ironically enough, it contradicts this empowerment altogether. 

All female characters are defined by their fertility. The "stay at home mums" vs. the "corporate mums" vs. the "corporate women that are anti-children", who well, end up getting knocked up in the end anyway.

The only message it sends is the prerequisite requirements of wanting to pursue your career as a working mum. Apparently, one is inevitably stuck with bad re-growth, unexplained stains on designer suits (which Kate smells to see if it’s chocolate or poop), a bad case of head lice, amalgamated into one scattered frenzy. But at least it's wrapped up in a little humor, even if that too, is rather predictable. 

But really, who doesn't love a "dad" joke? 

It is really interesting to see Sarah Jessica Parker replace "Marlboros, Men and Manolo Blahniks" for a role that's slightly more conventional than the Carrie in Sex and the City we’ve grown to love. 

Personally, I preferred when SJP’s contemplations on the big screen were around which one of her toy boys were to be her handbag at this season’s Dolce and Gabbana launch, but each to their own. The closest I’ve seen her portrayed to motherhood was when she pitched a children’s book about "magic cigarettes", in an attempt to find out more about Big's ex wife. Domestic? Well if you call referring to your oven as "storage space" then I guess so.

However, it is quite entertaining to get a glimpse of this domestically-challenged character in I Don't Know How She Does It in the opening scene where SJP had no time to prepare for her daughter's bake sale, so resorts to carefully placing a pre-baked cake into a platter to look more authentic, then sprinkling it with icing sugar.

Note to self – brilliant trick!

For those of you that want a light hearted, predictable cliché Hollywood outing, you will most probably enjoy this thanks to it's largely "feel good" plot. Although if you want to take a little more out of your cinema-going experience, I Don't Know How She Does It provides only a slight glimpse into what one can expect when pursuing a career through motherhood.

If the way Hollywood depicts motherhood is any sign of reality (because Hollywood is a reflection of the real world, right?) it scared me to bits!

3 out of 5

I Don't Know How She Does It
Australian release: 3rd November, 2011
Official Site: I Don't Know How She Does It
Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Kelsey Grammer, Christina Hendricks, Seth Meyers
Director: Douglas McGrath

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