The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Columbia Pictures - 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 121 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English/French/Portuguese DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson, Jack Nicholson, Katherine Hahn
Written & Directed by: James L. Brooks
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 22, 2011
"Ennie Meenie Miney Moe"
From legendary director/writer James L. Brooks comes a humorous and romantic look at the How Do You Know question. When everything she's ever known is suddenly taken from her, Lisa (Reese Witherspoon) begins a fling with Matty (Owen Wilson), a major league baseball player and self-centered ladies man. Before their relationship takes off, Lisa meets up with George (Paul Rudd) a straight-arrow businessman facing his own serious issues, both with his father (Jack Nicholson) and the law. Just when everything seems to be falling apart it doesn't.
Writer/director James L. Brooks has an impressive resume. I consider myself a fan and looked forward to seeing How do you know. The cast looked promising and the romantic comedy based premise, predictable or not, seemed fun. The story centers on Lisa, a 31 year old USA Olympic softball player who is extremely focused and devoted to her career. Relationships are secondary in her life but like most athletes she prefers dating other athletes. Case in point her latest boyfriend Manny (Wilson). A narcissistic and bubbly baseball player with a roving eye but commitment in his heart. Content with Manny and looking forward to the upcoming season, Lisa is hit hard with disappointing news that leaves her head spinning. Trying to remain upbeat she agrees to a blind date with George, a white collar corporate type who up until recently was living large and involved a serious relationship. Troubles at work have left him in financial straits, without a girl, and facing serious legal problems. Trying to remain upbeat he calls Lisa (via a mutual friend) and asks her out on a blind date. Lisa finds George vaguely interesting but far from her type. George sees something in Lisa but doesn't actively pursue her. The two informally decide to remain friends however there is a noticeable yet unspoken attraction. George's mounting problems begin to close in while Lisa's relationship with Manny is full of hills and valleys. The pressures on Lisa and George bring them together for support and they soon come to realize that perhaps they need to reexamine not only their lives but their blossoming relationship.
This film isn't exactly a swing and a miss. I guess I would classify it as more of a long foul ball. Good potential but misses the mark. It has it share of amusing moments and the characters are pretty likeable. At just over two hours the movie runs too long and at times seems to be running in place. The trouble lies in the muddled script which gets bogged down with over run sequences, an unnecessary character/subplot and long winded dialogue. The character of Annie (played by Katherine Hahn) is completely superfluous and adds nothing tangible to the story. George's work problems don't make a lot of sense but do give Jack Nicholson the opportunity to polish up his skills by unloading a typically entertaining diatribe aimed at poor George. He is one of my favorite actors but characters like this have become all too common for him of late. Witherspoon, Wilson and Rudd carry the ball nicely and with a different script would have made this a more enjoyable romantic comedy. I want to point out that Paul Rudd's performance is the film's highlight. He steals the show and comes across as boyishly charming, physically funny and plays very well opposite the always solid Reese Witherspoon. Owen Wilson is typically affable and owns Manny. At the end of the day I think that How do you know has merit but fails to deliver the kind of enriching entertainment we have come to expect not only from writer/director James L. Brooks but from the better romantic comedies out there.
The rating is for sexual content and some language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
How do you know comes to Blu-ray from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.5 Mbps.
This video presentation from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is consistent with most newer release films coming to Blu-ray and looks great. Colors are bright, with vivid primaries, and natural levels of saturation which makes them visually pleasing. Contrast and brightness are nicely balanced which adds punch to colors and brightly lit scenes while keeping darker elements dynamic and gradational. Complexions are rich in tonal delineation with lifelike highlights that look great in high definition. Images are crisp with stable sharpness and appreciable refinement that brings out plenty of subtle texture within the objects and people onscreen. I didn't see any obvious compromises to fidelity and thought that this high definition rendering looked pristine.
The DTS-HD MA soundtrack features a solid surround mix that capably renders the elements present in the recording. Dialogue is crisp, well intonated and lucid through the center channel. Sonic detail is rendered with subtle clarity and high fidelity that draws out appreciable subtle nuance. Dynamics are robust and add solidity to the film's music. Surround use is limited but its presence opens up the soundstage nicely.
- Filmmakers commentary
- Select scene commentary with James L. Brooks and Owen Wilson
- The George with optional commentary
- (HD) 16 deleted scenes including an alternate ending and animatic
- (HD) Blooper reel - 2 minutes
- (HD) Extras innings - Making of/behind the scenes look - 15 minutes
- (HD) A conversation with James L. Brooks and Hans Zimmer - 25 minutes
- (HD) Interactive script gallery
- BD-Live enabled
How do you know is a mildly entertaining romantic comedy that falls short thanks to a muddled script and bloated runtime. I didn't find fault with the well placed cast who made the most of what they had to work with, especially Paul Rudd. At the end of the day I think that How do you know has its moments but fails to deliver the kind of enriching entertainment we have come to expect not only from writer/director James L. Brooks but from the better romantic comedies out there. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in a well balanced offering that features excellent audio/video quality and a complimentary assortment of bonus features. If you are already a fan this is worth picking up but otherwise no more than a rental.
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