Metascore
38

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 31
  2. Negative: 11 out of 31
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    Sep 15, 2011
    75
    In describing the conflict of a woman who has it all without enjoying it all, Pearson's book had teeth. McKenna's screenplay has only a smile. But is it ever good to laugh.
  2. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Sep 15, 2011
    63
    The unfortunate ending, which wallows in artifice, is superficial and saccharine, and unworthy of the material that precedes it.
  3. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Sep 15, 2011
    63
    The humor tends to be broad, but the spritely pace doesn't allow for too much lingering on the jokes that don't land (really, we've seen enough morning sickness bits to make us gag).
  4. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Sep 16, 2011
    60
    From the wry narration to the girlish mannerisms, Parker really does turn this film into "Sex and the Kiddies."
  5. Reviewed by: Amy Nicholson
    Sep 13, 2011
    60
    Director Douglas McGrath's empathy rescues it from the brink of disaster porn - it's so good-hearted and optimistic that a swath of stressed out moms will feel the flick speaks directly to them, which it does.
  6. 60
    Yes, I cringed at the casting, too, especially when, watching the trailer, I heard Parker deliver the narration in the same voice she used for Carrie in "Sex and the City." But Kate is funnier - less arch - than Carrie, and Parker reminds you what a dizzy, all-in, high-risk comic actress she can be when she's not too busy showing off the couture.
  7. 60
    Amusing, but formulaic, romantic comedy.
  8. Reviewed by: Jody Mitori
    Sep 16, 2011
    50
    Like its main character, I Don't Know How She Does It tries to do everything, but it doesn't quite succeed.
  9. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Sep 15, 2011
    50
    It's not that I Don't Know How She Does It tells actual lies about working motherhood - many of its observations and jokes are on point - it's just that it omits the edge, the desperation of a woman on the verge.
  10. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Sep 15, 2011
    50
    Has nothing remotely new or comical in its arsenal. In fact, this vacuous farce has nothing original to say about marriage, working parenthood, child-rearing or corporate America.
  11. Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    Sep 15, 2011
    50
    It's smart, swanky, and good-looking, but strangely, it's not all that funny.
  12. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Sep 15, 2011
    50
    Doesn't know how to do what I think it's trying to do.
  13. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Sep 15, 2011
    50
    For the first 30 minutes I couldn't shake the feeling that I was watching a really promising pilot for network TV.
  14. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Sep 14, 2011
    50
    In theory, the film is another hoary exploration of the pressures of modern womanhood, but in practice, it offers the exact same thing as those NYC ingénue books: cookie-cutter wish-fulfillment and lifestyle porn for easily pleased, lonely romantics.
  15. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Sep 14, 2011
    50
    She (Parker) looks exhausted, first scene to last, and that fatigue spills off the screen onto us.
  16. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    Sep 12, 2011
    50
    Sarah Jessica Parker's myriad fans will doubtless appreciate her frazzled warmth in a part she energetically inhabits, but the picture at times feels out of step with contemporary reality and humorless in its adaptation of a comic bestseller.
  17. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Sep 17, 2011
    40
    I Don't Know How She Does It feels like a relic from the "Sex and the City" boom times. If there were even a passing nod to economic reality - for example, an acknowledgement that not all stay-at-home mothers are pampered trophy wives who live at the gym - this self-satisfied domestic comedy might not leave behind such a tinny taste.
  18. Sep 16, 2011
    40
    The major drawback of I Don't Know How She Does It, however, is Parker herself. She seems pathologically drawn to characters who don't possess believable flaws or complications -- just annoying tics.
  19. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Sep 15, 2011
    40
    If Kate's hyperkinetic cheer and shrill self-absorption are Carrie trademarks, 13 years after "Sex and the City" first appeared on television, their appeal has all but evaporated. I Don't Know How She Does It seems stuck in the past.
  20. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Sep 15, 2011
    40
    After a while, you stop hoping she'll tell her family to suck it up and watch some TV and then drink a bottle of rosé all by herself, and instead settle for wishing she'd develop a smidgen of self worth.
  21. Reviewed by: Hayley Kaufman
    Sep 15, 2011
    38
    Occasionally veers so far into absurdity that it manages to make its central character - capable, smart, working mom Kate Reddy - look like a nitwit.
  22. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Sep 14, 2011
    33
    The second insurmountable problem is the difference between Parker's performance as a fortysomething banker, wife, and mother musing (in voice-over) at her computer and her previous performance as a single, thirtysomething girl-about-town in "Sex and the City": There is none. I don't know why she does it.
  23. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Sep 15, 2011
    30
    Long after lice from her children's school infested Kate's scalp, I was scratching my head about why a 91-minute movie seemed so long. The answer came from reframing the question. Why was a string of sitcom problems stretched to 91 minutes?
  24. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Sep 13, 2011
    30
    She is also played by Sarah Jessica Parker, a performer so aggressively determined to make us like her that no work-life conflicts in the film ever gain any traction; we're too distracted by the actress's manic tics (the head tilts, the popping of the wounded-deer eyes) to notice any real adversity.
  25. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Sep 16, 2011
    25
    The good news about I Don't Know How She Does It is that it's so bad that it's another ovary-punch to the formula chick flick. Bring on more films like "Bridesmaids."
  26. 25
    It's a going-through-the-motions domestic comedy that makes, say, "Cheaper By The Dozen" look like a heart-warming, cutting-edge laugh riot.
  27. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Sep 15, 2011
    25
    Spiffy-looking, well-intentioned but ultimately witless film.
  28. Reviewed by: R. Kurt Osenlund
    Sep 14, 2011
    25
    The witticisms are delivered via a suffocating glut of audience hand-holding, which includes constant doc-style confessionals, whimsical on-screen text, studio-audience sound effects, voices in Kate's head, and voiceover narration.
  29. Reviewed by: Randy Cordova
    Sep 14, 2011
    20
    It's definitely not taking advantage of a talented supporting cast, as Greg Kinnear, Kelsey Grammer, Seth Meyers and Christina Hendricks are among those wasted.
  30. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Sep 13, 2011
    20
    Only Kinnear manages to give his role some shades beyond the broadly farcical, though even he ultimately succumbs to his leading lady's toothy grin and Oprah-sanctioned bromides.
  31. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Sep 15, 2011
    12
    Insipid, unfunny and cliche-ridden.
User Score
3.4

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 26 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 5
  2. Negative: 3 out of 5
  1. Sep 17, 2011
    0
    My wife made me go see this, and it was awful at best. Horse faced SJP needs to retire. All the years of 'cute' head tilting and looks noMy wife made me go see this, and it was awful at best. Horse faced SJP needs to retire. All the years of 'cute' head tilting and looks no longer holds any magic or interest for viewers. It would have been more enjoyable to stay at home and eat a pool of my own vomit than watch this film. No entertainment value at all, just a vanity piece SJP did for herself trying to pretend she is still young and attractive, which she is well passed. Full Review »
  2. Sep 22, 2011
    0
    Absolutely Terrible all people involved in this movie should retire to President Nixons Island Party But seriously it was that bad id ratherAbsolutely Terrible all people involved in this movie should retire to President Nixons Island Party But seriously it was that bad id rather climb a mountain of people poop Full Review »
  3. Feb 8, 2014
    1
    The paper-thin plot of this movie revolves around working mother Kate, juggling her way through life. It sounds dull and more appropriate forThe paper-thin plot of this movie revolves around working mother Kate, juggling her way through life. It sounds dull and more appropriate for a sit-com – and definitely would be. I read that the script is based on a novel, which I am determined to ignore, especially after having seen the movie.

    Kate is played by SJP, an actress who could easily be described as the female Tom Hanks – albeit slightly less talented. Her likability is enormous, but unfortunately her choice of roles very limited; in her repertoire there are only comedies, most of them remarkable failures at the box office. Her sidekicks in this movie are Greg Kinnear and Pierce Brosnan, two good actors with a wider range, who play respectively her husband and a business associate. One wishes there was more of them on screen. Unfortunately we get plenty of SJP and of her friend played by Christina Hendricks. It could have been any other actress playing second fiddle to SJP, as poor Christina is used only to enunciate a string of questionable statements.

    For a comedy there are very few laughers. Actually, none at all from me. The punch lines sounded tired and unfunny and the "real life" situations abused and stale: what about an envious colleague who would like to steal your glory? Or a supportive best friend with a lousy love life? Not to mention the neglected husband. All seen in a million other comedies, most of them better than this one.

    The problem with this, and an increasingly larger number of movies, is that they are targeted to a very restricted public. This one is targeted strictly to 1) working mothers with young children, and 2) die-hard fans of SJP. I doubt anybody else will find it even mildly amusing, as it does not work at all as a comedy. Indeed, in the cinema where I saw it, even if the audience was mostly female, only a woman in her mid-thirties laughed out loud.

    Besides, SJP starts to get a bit old for this type of role and her constant touching her hair drove me almost crazy. I wanted to shout: "Just cut it if it bothers you so much!". She used to have gorgeous hair, but even that is growing thin and limpy.
    Full Review »