relationship with the lovely Sarah Jessica Parker goes back a long way.
From the bubbly, dance-crazy friend in Footloose, as well the bubbly,
dance-crazy friend in Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, to the high school nerd
trying to fit in on the TV sitcom Square Pegs (- Maybe she should’ve
been more bubbly and dance-crazy?), my regard for SJP is long-lived
and strong. It pains me to write bad reviews about her movies; Sex and
the City 2 hurt me with every lash I gave it. So, when I give my
thoughts about her latest film, I Don’t Know How She Does It, I’d better
make sure a paramedic is standing by.
is a mother of two adorable small children; she has the love of a
handsome husband, adoring in-laws, a nanny who really adores her kids
and a career on a huge upswing. So tell us, Kate, what’s wrong? Apparently, Kate's dissatisfaction with her lot is due to the long
hours she’s spent working on a project that will lock her in solid with
the boss and finally give her an edge over her slimy rival coworker.
Kate’s assistant is a devoted, if chilly machine who slaves for her and
is determined to see Kate succeed. Her new collaborator on this project
is a dashing, incredibly handsome man who takes Kate and her ideas
seriously and thinks she’s the greatest thing since hedge funds. All
these things right and still Kate is brought to tears about the time she
spends away from her family.
it up, sister. This movie couldn’t have been more the wrong film at the
wrong time if it tried. Here we are in one of the worst unemployment
crises in American history and this woman, working in a financial
management firm -- not exactly the most popular job on the planet these
days, but certainly one that thousands of out of work men and women
would give their right arm to have -- is crying over having a spend an
overnight business trip every now and again.
Not only is the current
struggling economy unfriendly to this premise, but the whole idea that
Kate should apologise and be guilt-ridden for achieving success in her
chosen field just because she’s a woman is downright insulting. Would
this even be a movie if it had been Kate’s husband spending more time
away from home because his job was going really well?
Also, as I
mentioned there is nothing on the planet this woman and her family could
ask for; her kids live in a lovely Boston brownstone with two doting
parents and grandparents. They go to a school where the bake sale is a
major event (- As long as the cakes and cookies have no refined sugar
– Man, that roll hurt my eyes.). They even have a country home in
the snowy mountains to escape to and use as an excuse to insert a
saccharine family sing-a-long of old 70’s R&B songs that no small child
would ever know. They have a caring nanny, so much so that the
emergency substitution of a dozy, old-school elderly babysitter due to
Kate’s failure at time management, throws Kate into a tizzy. Even on
just the husband’s smaller paycheck, the family won’t starve.
what they’re going for, I truly do; highlighting the unfairness in the
workplace that women often have to choose between a job and family
time. This would have been far easier to take in 1982, when ladies’
padded-shouldered “power suits” were all the rage as women became an
executive force to be reckoned with, but this isn’t 30 years ago.
1980’s 9 to 5 dealt with the situation of ladies’ unfair treatment in
the workplace far more adroitly and was a heck of a lot funnier. The
comedy, or what’s meant to pass for comedy, is the most insipid
slapstick; a whole segment is dedicated to Kate’s discovering she’s
caught lice from her children in the middle of an important business
meeting. Equally har-har-hilarious is Kate’s saucy instant message
mix-up with a colleague she’s trying to impress. There are absolutely
no surprises either in the attempted humour, the rote romantic tension
with the new partner, or the friction between Kate and her financially
But back to why this movie couldn’t be more
inappropriate; women around the world would kill to be Kate, and the
production utterly fails to notice the five-hundred pound gorilla on the
screen of the thousands of single mothers who work all the hours that
God sends, struggling to find and afford safe, reputable day care, so
they might actually have the opportunity to get a menial job. Women who
truly risk everything when their kids get sick, because there’s no one
else to help. Women who have no choice but to work through the
holidays, so a jaunt to the country home for Thanksgiving really isn’t
in the cards for them.
Not meaning to leave out the single dads,
believe me, I know you exist, but this film is nothing if not sexist, even
with its very ideology that women can’t handle or have it all. I
understand why Kate feels she can’t and it’s because she’s written as a
disorganised, uncoordinated mess, yet she’s sobbing over this rush of
achievement and reward that women with far more on the ball deserve and
The vanity of this film to think that Kate’s troubles –
which could have easily been sorted in the way they are later in the
film – would mean anything to these ladies who genuinely fight every day
to care for their children in the most basic sense, is blind and
appalling. It’s just horrible that more success and a larger income are
getting in the way of Kate’s perfect life.
Considering the main
character’s misery in light of her good fortune to have a two-parent
home in the beautiful brownstone, good schools for her kids, supportive
grandparents, friends, and lest we forget, she also has a freaking
nanny; I Don’t Know How She Does It might have been more aptly titled I
Don’t Know Why She Bothers. I also don’t know how anyone had the gall to
release this pathetic yuppies’ lament to a paying audience.
Lady Miz Diva
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