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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “How She Does It”‘s little moments make it worth the trip

    How+She+Does+Its+little+moments+make+it+worth+the+trip

    By all appearances, “I Don’t Know How She Does It” looks like a typical chick flick. Pink and green cover? Check. Sarah Jessica Parker? Check. Credits rolling to Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E”? Yep, for the first time since “Parent Trap.”

    But it’s not so much a chick flick as a shallow foray into feminist rhetoric, feeble in premise but lively with incisive insights and spot-on dry humor.

    Though rehashing the challenges faced by a middle-class working mother of two isn’t exactly cutting-edge, it certainly colors a viewer’s choice of category away from classic rom com.

    Sarah Jessica Parker, in all her quirky glory and “Sex and the City” backstory, only adds to the effect.

    Before anything can be said about the film’s craft, however, its premise must be addressed.

    It’s not that it’s because it particularly matters; after all, the crux of this story is in the nuances rather than the plotline. Rather, it’s because of an issue manifested in the subject line of first-listed “popular discussion” on IMDB: “Will any audience care about bourgeois problems during a recession?” A valid question, recession or no.

    In fact, if I were to tweet about the film without adding the hashtag “#firstworldproblems,” I would feel somehow dishonest. We’re talking about crises of dirty email mix-ups, purses overcrowded with mini Tupperwares full of pretzels, and time crunches imposed by a promise of snowman-making.

    Yet, as a whole, the film is beautifully crafted: children’s birthday parties pop with the texture of piñatas, and pancakes flip between shafts of autumn light during those beautiful if highly fictional mornings that seem to stretch for miles.

    The form, somewhere at the intersection of “Mean Girls” and “The Office,” feels just right. The mockumentary-esque touches enable some of the more succinct comic moments; in one scene, Parker’s assistant has occasion to advise, “If you’re going to sign ‘XO,’ you might as well sign, ‘please enter me.’”

    Additionally, the sports commentator technique of scribbling on the screen for the audience’s benefit works to great effect. As Parker unloads her mental chaos, a scrapbook-type series of visuals accompany her quintessential voiceover and culminate in an improbable yet understandable, “Kegels? Bagels.”

    Thus, if the downtrodden-working-mother thrust is heavy-handed, at least the details are easy on the eyes. More, the little things in “I Don’t Know How She Does It” paint a pretty vivid picture of how she does, in fact, do it. That is, with a tame, socially acceptable level of spunk and a refreshing “thank you” motif that nearly redeems the segments that dully solicit pity for working mothers and their occasionally compromised status in the white-collar workplace.

    A serious question: Can you get over a laughably small scope and some serious upper-middle class assumptions underpinning a flimsy plot? You should. As the movie says so cheesily of motherhood, the little moments will make it worth your while.

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