Sarah Jessica Parker trades in her scandalous life as a New York City singleton in the HBO series “Sex and the City” to play a mother of two in the endearing comedy “I Don’t Know How She Does It.”
The film follows the frantic days of middle-aged, middle-class working mother Kate Reddy (Parker). Every night she lies awake in bed, too anxious to sleep, making endless mental to-do lists and attempting to organize her hectic life. With the last item on her list being to stop making to-do lists, she must decide which aspect of her life is her top priority: her children or her career as an investment manager. Despite a somewhat monotonous storyline, the film grants a valuable all-access pass into the life of the modern-day woman.
Parker convincingly plays a woman with too much on her plate. She battles with the stress and guilt of a mother caught between planning birthday parties and pitching plans to top financial executives. Her character’s struggle shows the importance of finding a balance between work and home.
Allison (Christina Hendricks), Kate’s feisty, red-haired best friend and fellow working mom, highlights the double-standard women often face in the workforce. In one scene, Allison points out that men who leave the office to be with their children are hailed as heroes, but women who make the same choice face eye rolls and constant condemnation. Hendricks brings new levels of comedy and a light-hearted thematic quality to the film. While she makes serious claims, her sassy, confident tone makes her character provocative and relatable.
The most appealing aspect of the movie is its script. Co-screenwriter Aline McKenna, known for her work on Hollywood films “The Devil Wears Prada” and “27 Dresses,” brings her usual wit to this project. Kate’s assistant, Momo (Olivia Munn), is scripted to perfection as the quirky and super-motivated comedic aid to the film. Her sharp remarks and inability to express warm emotions are a perpetual source of laughter and show not all working women have home at heart.
Despite well-developed characters, the film’s message is nothing new to the Hollywood scene. The audience may already know how she does it, but Parker will still draws some lighthearted laughter.
“I Don’t Know How She Does It” was directed by Douglas McGrath and written by Aline McKenna and Allison Pearson.
2.5 out of 4 stars