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I Don't Know How She Does It

MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for sexual references throughout.

Reviewed by: Sheronda McDonald
CONTRIBUTOR—first time reviewer

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
1 hr. 35 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
September 16, 2011 (wide—2,800+ theaters)
DVD: January 3, 2012
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Sex, Love and Relationships
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Featuring: Sarah Jessica ParkerKate Reddy
Pierce BrosnanJack Abelhammer
Greg KinnearRichard Reddy
Christina HendricksAllison Henderson
Kelsey GrammerClark Cooper
Seth Meyers … Chris Bunce
Olivia MunnMomo Hahn
Jane Curtin … Marla Reddy
See all »
Director: Doug McGrath
Producer: The Weinstein Company
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Distributor: Distributor: The Weinstein Company. Trademark logo.
The Weinstein Company

“If it were easy, men would do it, too.”

Editor’s Note: This review was written by a new volunteer. Please send us your evaluation of her work.
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Kate Reddy (Sarah Jessica Parker) is a wife and working mother of 2 children—a six year old daughter and a 2-year old son. The movie begins with Kate’s co-worker speaking directly to the viewer (breaking the fourth wall) about how she believes Kate handles the responsibility of being a working mother.

The film quickly moves into the life of a much disheveled, multi-tasking mother who attempts to balance the fine line between work and home. Kate has a job at a high-powered investment firm that requires a lot of overnight travel. The movie clearly depicts the imbalance in Kate’s life as mother, and highly effective employee at work. These roles begin to clash as Kate is shown arriving late to her daughter’s school on her day to volunteer, leaving Thanksgiving dinner to handle a situation at work, making excuses for being late to work, and her 6-year old daughter being resentful about Kate’s frequent absences from home; the list goes on.

Kate’s loyal and very patient husband Richard (Greg Kinnear) gets a promotion on his job, so that Kate can work less, and spend more time with the family. However, Kate also takes a promotion, which is an awesome opportunity for her career—but terrible timing for the family. In addition, the new promotion requires Kate to work very closely with her attractive and single boss Jack Abelhammer (Pierce Brosnan). As you might assume, the whirlwind begins, and things quickly begin to spiral out of control.

Objectionable content

The movie earns its PG-13 rating with profanity and sexual references. There are about 3 uses of “H_ll,” about a dozen “S” words, 2 uses of the word “_ss” and many uses of “Oh my G_d,” and “Jesus.” There are also many sexual references and innuendos sprinkled throughout movie. You hear references to orgasms, “juicy breasts” (supposedly referring to a turkey), an e-mail about “blowing somebody,” and “bending over backward”. The term “enter me” is used, and there is a scene where a character in the movie is shown at a strip club viewing an erotic dancer; the lower part of the woman’s legs are shown. Also, Kate’s friend tells her not to do anything immoral or disgusting without first telling her all the details.

There is no nudity, however, at a sports gym women are shown with very low-cut sportswear, which reveal ample cleavage.

As for violence, there is an animated children’s program shown on television with a character being kicked. On Thanksgiving Day, there is discussion at the dinner table about a murder. This discussion is openly talked about while the children are present. Lying is depicted as normal and acceptable, as Kate tells many lies to maintain the appearance that her home life does not interfere with her responsibilities at work.

Proverbs 12:12 reminds us that “lying lips are an abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are his delight.”

Positive content: Throughout the film, Richard remains a devoted and patient husband. This quality shows viewers how to maintain a lasting marriage through difficult times. Kate does eventually come to the realization that her family is more important than her job. She even makes the statement that she is no longer willing to dump her family at a moment’s notice. Kate’s co-worker Momo (Olivia Hahn) becomes pregnant and considers an abortion, however she decides to keep the baby after Kate persuades her that parenting can be very rewarding. Although Kate spends way too much one-on-one time with her boss Jack, she does turn down his advances when he reveals his affectionate feelings for her.

The movie is based in Boston, Massachusetts, and the cinematography is great. It has scenes and backdrops that give the viewer the warm and cozy feel of the Northeast states during the fall.

The movie shows the reality of the challenges of the working mother, however it does not show the grace and comfort we can receive from God each day.

I Peter 5:7 reminds us to cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us.

Kate’s responsibilities are overwhelming, but God has provided grace when we acknowledge Him in all our ways through daily prayer. It is clear that Kate believed that she could handle her home and work responsibilities within her own strength, but Scripture tells us differently:

2 Corinthians 12:9 says:

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

The movie does not show that when we have surmounting tasks, we will be anxious, disheveled and disorganized, if we do not draw from God’s grace each day.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—This was a fun, silly movie. It was great to see a film that championed motherhood and staying faithful to one’s spouse.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
Kadie Jo, age 19 (USA)
Neutral—The movie accurately depicts how chaotic the life of a working mom can be. As a former working mother, it’s nice to know you are not alone in the struggles of trying to balance work and family. As a newly stay at home mom, I did not care for the way the movie portrayed stay at home moms as selfish, self-centered, self absorbed, snotty women who feel they are better than working mothers. I know that some women do judge, but I would say a majority of stay at home moms are some of the most selfless people in the world, with a true heart to serve their family.

I certainly didn’t go in to this movie expecting Hollywood to give an accurate depiction of the value of a stay at home mom. The one thing I did appreciate about the movie was that they did portray motherhood as a wonderful, joyful experience. And my favorite line in the movie, was when Kate was making her list of things she’s learned, and she said she was done trying to be a man, because it’s such a waste of a woman.

It’s not one I’ll buy or watch over and over again, because of the cursing and sexual innuendo, but, overall, I enjoyed the movie. It was entertaining, and it provided a few good laughs and left me feeling so grateful that I can be home with my little girl while she is still so little.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Lisa, age 41 (USA)
Positive—This was much better then expected; actually, it was a very cute film, and I was glad to know before I watched it that she is faithful to her husband, even though her boss started hitting on her. The movie was entertaining, and you got to see the love that she really did have for her husband and kids. Yes, there were some sexual remarks throughout, but nothing like many PG-13 movies I have seen (we won’t watch rated R). It was more joking banter between her and her friend that is certainly not acceptable, but expected among people of the world.

It is a good example of how women or men can cross the line with emotional relationships with the opposite sex, but she realized that and chose her husband. Overall, my husband and I really enjoyed the film more then we expected, and we are very particular about sexual content in movies. This is definitely not a movie for kids, though.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Samantha, age 37 (USA)


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