How Do You Know

Rated 1.0

Remember how Mel Brooks and Woody Allen were always funny, then it suddenly stopped, and their styles went out of touch? Looks like the same thing is happening to writer/director James L. Brooks, whose ability to fashion intelligent, funny romantic comedies is definitely diminishing. Reese Witherspoon is some kind of awful as Lisa, a professional softball player dealing with career turmoil and boy trouble. Witherspoon has never looked and sounded this uncomfortable, totally lost in the Brooks universe. She can’t deliver a single line of dialogue and make it sound “real.” Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson work hard as the love interests, but the convoluted plot and completely lost female lead are no help. Jack Nicholson stops by, as he often does in James L. Brooks movies, with one of the more lifeless characters of his career. Woody Allen still delivers the occasional decent film among the crap he’s been turning out in recent years, but he makes a lot of movies, so the odds are in his favor. Brooks isn’t nearly as prolific, and his latest is proof that it might be time for a co-writer.