How Do You Know

March 7, 2012 - How do you know if a movie is going to be good or bad? Sometimes you can tell just by the title or by who's in it. But, other times, those types of clues can be very misleading. This film from 2010 is a perfect example. The film stars Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Jack Nicholson and Owen Wilson. It's directed by James L. Brooks. You'd think that with a crew like that it would be a good movie. You'd be wrong.

Witherspoon plays Lisa. For years, she's been a star on the USA softball team. But, now, she's over 30 and doesn't make the cut. Owen Wilson plays Matty, a star pitcher for the Washington Nationals (although I don't think we ever actually see him throw a ball). He's very single. Paul Rudd plays George, who runs an investment firm. He gets dumped by his girlfriend when she learns he's under investigation by the Feds. Somehow, Lisa finds herself in a position of choosing between these two guys.

Overall review: ** I like Witherspoon and I like Rudd. If the movie had been about their characters, I'd have been OK. But, the movie inserts Matty, and that's a problem. We never find out how Lisa and Matty met, although it's clear from their initial meeting in the movie that they've met and gone out together before. But, Lisa seems like a pretty grounded person. Her attempt to have a serious relationship with Matty seems to go against character. This could have been an interesting movie about Lisa and George helping each other get through personal crises, and that element is there – sort of. But, Matty's character gets in the way. Consequently, the movie has no focus and ends up mostly as a mess.