Metascore
46

Mixed or average reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 38
  2. Negative: 7 out of 38
  1. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Dec 17, 2010
    75
    A bit slow to get started, and it's nowhere near as funny as "The Hangover." But it'll make you smile.
  2. Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    Dec 16, 2010
    75
    It is a keenly observed movie about loss of identity and finding love, in which Brooks serves up funny-ouch humor with slapstick heartbreak.
  3. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Dec 16, 2010
    75
    It's relaxed without being sloppy, or patronizing, and in particular Witherspoon and Lemmon - sorry, make that Rudd - bring charm to burn.
  4. Reviewed by: Michelle Orange
    Dec 15, 2010
    75
    There are a couple of scenes of pure, sentimental genius, as well as appealingly boggled turns by Rudd and Wilson.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Dec 20, 2010
    70
    Yeah, well, I still like the film.
  6. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Dec 17, 2010
    70
    In essence, the movie is an ungainly but irresistible romantic-triangle comedy built around Rudd, Reese Witherspoon and Owen Wilson, with Nicholson rambling around its periphery like a demonic bear, part comic relief and part distraction.
  7. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Dec 16, 2010
    70
    The result is highly entertaining but hardly ranks with the director's best work; a dramatic subplot involving the money guy and his corrupt father (a disengaged Jack Nicholson) never gains traction.
  8. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Dec 14, 2010
    70
    Not that How Do You Know doesn't have its moments of shamelessly entertaining shtick, much of it furnished by Nicholson (watch for a very funny visual gag about his proclivities for much younger women) and by Wilson as Lisa's current squeeze.
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Dec 17, 2010
    67
    Best when it's morphing into seriousness. Too often the comic bits seem like sops to the audience.
  10. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Dec 23, 2010
    63
    It's the kind of movie that succeeds as a culmination of moments that ring true and sweet.
  11. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Dec 17, 2010
    63
    How do you know when a romantic comedy just isn't working? Key indicators are that your audience doesn't get goose bumps in the inevitable third-act reunion. They don't get misty-eyed. In short, they don't really care.
  12. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Dec 16, 2010
    63
    The problem with the film has little to do with the central triangle, which is engaging enough in a formula-driven way, but with the myriad uninteresting subplots that dot the cinematic landscape and have the unfortunate effect of padding the proceedings to the point of unwieldiness.
  13. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Dec 16, 2010
    63
    The experiment in the new movie is this: What happens when his Type A's are forced out of their comfort zones? If only Brooks had managed to leave his. How Do You Know feels like a collection of scenarios he's done better.
  14. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Dec 16, 2010
    63
    The movie is all surface and trades on fortune-cookie wisdom.
  15. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Dec 17, 2010
    60
    Brooks has given us the rare contemporary rom-com that's by turns (if intermittently) thoughtful and funny, and that doesn't feel focus-grouped, cynical, misogynist, or mean. It seems ungenerous not to cut such a generous movie a break.
  16. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Dec 15, 2010
    60
    From its bland title to its fair-to-middlin' story, mediocre is the word that fits How Do You Know perfectly.
  17. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Dec 15, 2010
    58
    How Do You Know asks really good questions but doesn't so much answer them as toss the ball from player to player until the clock runs out.
  18. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Dec 17, 2010
    50
    Brooks knew how to engineer a well-crafted script. Yet on the evidence here – a stuttering two-hour outing bereft of any rhythm, a bunch of scenes in search of a movie – he's apparently forgotten.
  19. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Dec 17, 2010
    50
    Shapeless and overlong, How Do You Know unfolds in a heap of unprocessed ideas and emotions, as if Brooks started production two or three drafts too early.
  20. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Dec 16, 2010
    50
    How Do You Know must have started with a good idea that got lost in the translation from concept to screen.
  21. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Dec 16, 2010
    50
    If, as someone says in one of Brooks' trademark excellent lines, we all feel we're "one small adjustment away from making our lives work," this film is one small adjustment away as well.
  22. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Dec 15, 2010
    50
    Nothing heats up. The movie doesn't lead us, it simply stays in step.
  23. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Dec 15, 2010
    50
    Too cute, too star-studded and entirely too long.
  24. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Dec 15, 2010
    50
    A low-impact romantic comedy-drama from James L. Brooks in which the central characters are strangely disconnected from one another as well as from the audience.
  25. 50
    The sad part is that How Do You Know is nowhere near as dumb as it looks. A couple of comic set pieces are inspired-or would be, if Brooks's timing weren't off.
  26. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Dec 16, 2010
    42
    With a self-plagiarizing premise, lifeless performances and a clunky-to-say-the-least screenplay, this star-studded flop is one of 2010's most egregious wastes of cinematic talent.
  27. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Dec 16, 2010
    42
    That's How Do You Know in a nutshell: preposterous characters lurching through painfully contrived scenarios.
  28. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Dec 15, 2010
    42
    A terrible title for a not-much-better movie, missing a grammatically correct question mark and most of the point with romantic comedies.
  29. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Dec 17, 2010
    40
    It's hard, as a viewer, not to shudder in tandem with Lisa – this isn't a love match, it's two would-be motivational coaches swapping slogans.
  30. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Dec 14, 2010
    40
    Listen to the rhythms of "Broadcast News" - from Holly Hunter's daily crying jags to William Hurt's cock-of-the walk patter - and you'll hear how romantic comedy can approach an art form, a roundelay that requires the ear of a conductor. How Do You Know, James L. Brooks's latest, has such tone-deaf passages that it feels made by a totally different man.
  31. Reviewed by: Mark Keizer
    Dec 14, 2010
    40
    Even Reese Witherspoon, whose adorable scrunch-face projects the romantic travails of lovelorn women everywhere, looks unsure of herself.
  32. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Dec 17, 2010
    38
    This rambling, overproduced, tone-deaf melange of romance, comedy and drama is only slightly more engaging than Brooks' other feature this century, the unfortunate Adam Sandler vehicle "Spanglish" (2004).
  33. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Dec 16, 2010
    30
    An airless, sometimes distressingly mirthless comedy.
  34. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Dec 15, 2010
    30
    This wrong-headed dramedy peddles forced warm-fuzziness and insincere sentiment on the backs of an all-star cast.
  35. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Dec 16, 2010
    25
    The film is confusing and awkwardly timed, and it drags.
  36. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Dec 16, 2010
    20
    Brooks' shallow screenplay feels half-finished, and he never compensates with additional guidance or directorial flair. So all his actors are forced to flail about ineffectually. Apparently, none of them read the script in advance. Because surely then they'd have known to take a pass.
  37. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 16, 2010
    0
    No need to belabor the awfulness of this film, a romantic comedy devoid of romance - instead of chemistry there's the flow of reverse magnetism - and lacking in comic timing, let alone comic content.
User Score
4.3

Mixed or average reviews- based on 68 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 28
  2. Negative: 20 out of 28
  1. Sep 27, 2011
    3
    "How Do You Know" is just plain terrible. Despite the decent performances the movie fails to derive from something new and (literally) eats up a big cake of cliches and rom-com formulas. Its a film you want to watch in an airplane while taking a nap. Trust me, you will sleep faster. Full Review »
  2. Dec 20, 2010
    8
    Whoa. There are a lot of bad reviews for this movie. That surprises me, because I loved it, and I'm not usually into romantic comedies. What makes this movie good is that it feels like it could really happen. Everybody has crappy days, and this movie is about finding the things in life that make you want to enjoy it again. The acting is really what makes this movie good. Paul Rudd is an extremely likeable lead, as is Reese Witherspoon. Heck, even Owen Wilson is fun to watch. But Jack Nicholson's character takes the cake. Most scenes, especially those with Nicholson, made me laugh out loud several times. This really is a sweet and funny movie, and I don't understand why it's getting such bad reviews, especially user reviews. It was wayyy better than Morning Glory. Full Review »
  3. Dec 28, 2010
    0
    Bad script, bad writing, bad acting. This movie fails on every level.
    Easily one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Not sure what else needs
    to be said Full Review »