How Do You Know

James L Brooks was working on ‘The Simpsons’ around the time of the 1993 episode ‘Bart’s Inner Child’, in which Springfield falls prey to self-help svengali Brad Goodman. His condescending rhetoric (‘You’re not a human “being”, you’re a human “doing”!’) satirised psychobabble. This new film from Brooks (‘As Good as It Gets’) sees a script constructed of the same doublespeak, only with its meanings taken seriously. Paul Rudd is George, a kind everyman accused of a corporate crime and saddled with a dilemma: should he shop his slippery father, Charles (Jack Nicholson), to the Feds so he can get with retired baseball champ Lisa (Reese Witherspoon – miscast), who’s in an awkward romance with dim-brained ’ball star Matty (Owen Wilson)? Contrived, mawkish and mirthless, this feels like it was made by people who haven’t had any meaningful human contact for years.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday January 28 2011
Duration: 121 mins

Cast and crew

Director: James L Brooks
Screenwriter: James L Brooks
Cast: Reese Witherspoon
Owen Wilson
Paul Rudd

Average User Rating

1.3 / 5

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scrumpyjack

Saw this last week but forgot to comment. How will you know if you have seen pleasant un-annoying fluff? You'll forget about it by the time your bum has left the seat. 5/10