Despite its forgettable title, undernourished reviews, and less than expected box office showing, How Do You Know is a cleverly written, playful tale of predestined love between two rudderless souls in search of meaningful companionship in a sea of uncertainty.
Written and directed by award-winning James L. Brooks, whose credits include As Good as It Gets, Spanglish, and Terms of Endearment, the film’s pace might be a little slow at times for some, but the dialogue is as good as it gets.
In typical Paul Rudd fashion, Rudd’s character George must overcome his underdog status in the eyes of his love interest Lisa (Reese Witherspoon), overcome his present personal crisis and relationship with his father Charles (Jack Nicholson), and find the confidence and direction in life he needs to win the heart of the girl who just happens to be involved with professional baseball player Matty (Owen Wilson).
The subtle, quirky, and noticeable character flaws that Brooks infuses within his film’s characters add to the appeal of the film. Their dialogue also drives the film, which includes the notable quotes "why do girls look so pretty the minute they're not sure about you?" and "we are all just a small adjustment away from making our eyes work." Intriguingly, many of the film’s characters are unendearing, yet by the end of the picture you find yourself rooting for George in hopes that nice guys don’t always finish last.
While probably not worthy of the coveted December release it was afforded in 2010, I found the underperforming How Do You Know a pleasant surprise and would rate this film 3.5 stars out of 5.