Even James L. Brooks’ most successful movies as a writer-director — “Terms of Endearment” comes to mind — have often had a tendency to be mawkish and a little too overtly manipulative for their own good. On the other hand, there’s absolutely no doubt that the man can write. He’s penned some of the sharpest and most memorable, witty, and just plain funny dialogue of anyone in post classic-era Hollywood.
So, why did he fail to put a question mark in the title of “How Do You Know”? I guess the logic is that periods are routinely left out of titles that are complete declarative sentences like, I don’t know, “Bring Me the Head of Alfred Garcia” or that titles which do contain question marks, like “Who is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?,” have often been attached to box office failures. I don’t care; I’m missing the question mark. Anyhow, take a look.
I don’t know about you, but I think this is an absolutely first-rate trailer in that it held my attention beautifully and I laughed very loudly at least three times. No question about it (yuk, yuk, yuk), “How Do You Know” looks like the kind of movie that may briefly bring back what was once a relatively frequent Hollywood stand-by: the sharply written, (I hope) not too sentimental, screwball romantic comedy that appeals to people of all ages and genders, though an IQ might help.
Considering the December release date, it’s looking like Columbia is hoping for some Oscar love. It’s been sixty years since a brainy and heartfelt rom-com like “The Philadelphia Story” could be a serious Oscar player. However, we know the Academy loves Mr. Brooks so, Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson and maybe even Jack Nicholson have a much better chance at Oscar nominations this year than, say, the cast of “Machete.”
R/t Anne Thompson.