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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

I Don't Know How She Does It

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service


Sarah Jessica Parker and Greg Kinnear star in "I Don’t Know How She Does It."

NEW YORK (CNS) -- There's a small pro-life moment of sorts tucked inside "I Don't Know How She Does It" (Weinstein), but it's quickly swallowed up in the sentimental goo of this gentle film about a wife and mother struggling to succeed in high finance.

Momo Hahn (Olivia Munn), the super-efficient and unemotional assistant of investment banker Kate Reddy (Sarah Jessica Parker), announces early on that she has no intention of being saddled with marriage and children, then unexpectedly finds herself pregnant. She hints that she's considering not having the child (abortion is not mentioned but can be inferred).

Kate launches into a spirited defense of motherhood, but the moment is interrupted by one of her many domestic crises with architect husband Richard (Greg Kinnear) and their young son and daughter. The father of Momo's child never makes an appearance.

Momo blithely concludes that although having a baby feels like a mistake, "maybe my baby will turn into Justin Bieber. He started as a mistake. Now he's a billionaire."

Director Doug McGrath and screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna, working from the novel by Allison Pearson, create a gentle upper-crust fantasy world of wisecracking friends, warm parents, the occasional understanding boss and picture-postcard views of Boston and New York.

The film tries to be about a lot of things and ends up being about nothing in particular. No single crisis rises to the level of anything more than a speed bump.

Kate has a jealous sniping rival at work in Chris Bunce (Seth Myers), rival mothers Wendy Best (Busy Philipps) and Janine LoPietro (Sarah Shahi) at her daughter's school, and the potential for an adulterous romance with new client Jack Abelhammer (Pierce Brosnan), but when she insists on making time instead to be with her husband and children, it turns out she can have it all—unlike in the real world for many women—even when she passes off a store-bought pie as her own for the school bake sale.

The film contains a fleeting reference to abortion, frequent crude and crass language and fleeting profane language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.





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Philip Neri: Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise. 
<p>At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate. </p><p>As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome. </p><p>At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way. </p><p>Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services. </p><p>The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory three centuries later.) </p><p>Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.</p> American Catholic Blog We need do no more than we are doing at present; that is, to love divine Providence and abandon ourselves in his arms and heart.<br />—St. Padre Pio

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