Review: “I Don’t Know How She Does It” – Susan Granger

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How to juggle marriage, motherhood and a career? That’s the dilemma hotshot Boston investment analyst Kate Reddy (Sarah Jessica Parker) faces every single day, including weekends and holidays. She’s really ambitious, so when her boss (Kelsey Grammer) offers her the business opportunity of a lifetime, she’s determined to do it all…which includes sending something that looks ‘home made’ to the classroom bake sale, throwing her youngsters elaborate birthday parties and endlessly transporting them to and from school, play dates, and appointments.

Meanwhile, her laid-off architect husband (Greg Kinnear) is starting his own firm and the kids instinctively know just which guilt-buttons to push. Then there’s the suave British widower/banker (Pierce Brosnan), a corporate bigwig based in Manhattan, who thinks he may be falling in love with her.

Using the “Sex and the City” device of revealing insights into the camera, Kate’s best-friend/working mother (Christina Hendricks) burbles her praises while her workaholic executive assistant(Olivia Munn) expresses her doubts, her office rival (Seth Meyers) smugly gloats about her struggles and a nasty, stay-at-home “Momster” (Busy Phillips) constantly criticizes Kate’s choices.

Like Carrie Bradshaw, it’s all about simpering, self-absorbed Kate. So when this ditz wails with dismay because her nanny took her two year-old son for his first haircut, inadvertently sends a suggestive e-mail to a colleague, and adjusts her underwear while teleconferencing, it’s hard to be sympathetic. It’s also difficult to relate to pampered trophy wives who, literally, spend all day working out at the gym.

Although based on the amusingly wry best-seller by British author Allison Pearson, it’s somehow lost its sense of humor en route to the screen, which is surprising since Aline Brosh McKenna had such success adapting “The Devil Wears Prada.” Perhaps the fault lies with Douglas McGrath’s (“Emma”) generic direction, or maybe a superficial, retro story about stereotypically stressed, privileged people seems stale during a recession economy.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “I Don’t Know How She Does it” is a frantic 5, as SJP’s balancing act predictably collapses.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.