Have you ever watched the deleted scenes on a DVD? Usually, instead of saying “hey, great, more movie!” you end up thinking “that didn’t quite work. I can see why they cut that out.”
The new film from the talented James L. Brooks, How Do You Know, feels a lot like watching those deleted scenes. It’s g0t a lot of recognizable actors somewhat oddly mixed. Owen Wilson does a great job at his part, a baseball player whose simplicity serves him well. Reese Witherspoon is solidly invested into her character’s viewpoint. Paul Rudd plays the Paul Rudd bit, which has worked quite well at time but doesn’t serve him here… and leaves the central romance with no chemistry. No surprises are asked of Jack Nicholson, and none are delivered. In the smaller parts, Tony Shalhoub fulfills the needs of a standard character type, but Mark Linn Baker fails.
At times I wanted to compare it to a puppet show version of a Brooks movie, or simply a first draft, but I’ve decided that the DVD extras thing fits best, it’s a knock that I’ve not tried before, and I’m sticking with it.