How Do You Know


How Do You Know

Critics Consensus

How Do You Know boasts a quartet of likeable leads -- and they deserve better than this glib, overlong misfire from writer/director James L. Brooks.



Total Count: 149


Audience Score

User Ratings: 41,917
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Movie Info

Director James L. Brooks returns to the helm for this ensemble comedy starring Reese Witherspoon, Jack Nicholson, Paul Rudd, and Owen Wilson, which centers on the story of a passionate athlete who finds herself romantically torn between a narcissistic baseball star and a straight-laced businessman. As far back as Lisa (Witherspoon) can remember, her life has been defined by sports. Then, in the blink of an eye, she's cut from the team. With her identity in crisis as she attempts to regain her footing in life, Lisa begins dating Matty (Wilson), a Major League Baseball pitcher and notorious womanizer. Meanwhile, terminally honest businessman George (Rudd) finds himself on the road to financial ruin or worse after being wrongly implicated in a financial crime. As George struggles to clear his name and reconcile his turbulent relationship with his father, Charles (Nicholson), a chance meeting with Lisa at the lowest point in both of their lives leaves him optimistic that things may work out after all. Meanwhile, Lisa and George both realize that the only thing that's certain about the future is that we never know what fate has in store for us. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi


Paul Rudd
as George
Molly Price
as Coach Sally
Ron McLarty
as George's Lawyer
Domenick Lombardozzi
as Bullpen Pitcher
John Tormey
as Doorman
Tony Shalhoub
as Psychiatrist
Dean Norris
as Softball Coach
Donna Dundon
as Annie's Mom
Cyrus Newitt
as Annie's Dad
Will Blagrove
as Matty's Teammate
William Blagrove
as Matty's Teammate
Andrew Wilson
as Matty's Teammate
David A. Gregory
as Matty's Teammate
Bill McKinley
as Maitre d'
Jim Bouton
as Bullpen Coach
Tara Subkoff
as Subpoena Woman
Mary Gallagher
as Other Female Coach
Aileen Zoccola
as Player's Wife
Sachi Jones
as Player's Wife
Amanda Moshay
as Player's Wife
Lyssa Lee Roberts
as Groped Girl
Seth Sanders
as Cocky Agent
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Critic Reviews for How Do You Know

All Critics (149) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (47) | Rotten (102)

Audience Reviews for How Do You Know

  • Aug 23, 2015
    It was cute except it was not funny at all... How do you know had excellent chemistry between Witherspoon and Rudd but script was it was disastrous and the running time way too long for a pleasant viewing.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Jun 10, 2012
    Rom com with a good cast. Lisa finds herself without a job, moves in with her boyfriend then realises she is attracted someone else.
    Candy R Super Reviewer
  • Apr 11, 2012
    While waiting for news on whether or not she makes the national softball team(she doesn't), Lisa(Reese Witherspoon) is so distracted by her cell phone ringing that she is hit by a softball in the face but is okay. It turns out that the phone call is only her friend and teammate Riva(Teyonah Parris) trying to set her up with a non-athlete for a change. In any case, neither her nor her intended date, George(Paul Rudd), are available, as Lisa is sorta/maybe dating Matty(Owen Wilson), a pitcher for the Washington Nationals. George's status suddenly changes all around when his girlfriend Terry(Shelley Conn) dumps him when he is investigated for securities fraud. On the other hand, George's father(Jack Nicholson) stands firmly behind him. So, how do you know you are watching a mediocre romantic comedy? Well, the 120 minute running time is not a good sign, but it is not necessarily a critical flaw, as it matters what you do with the time. Here, it is nothing good, as the movie just goes around in circles for the most part, with only a couple of truly memorable moments. The first of which revolves around the phrase, "I can't even smile for the bastards, anymore." Underneath this mess is a good movie waiting to get out about two young people at a crossroads in their lives. And even then, the leads are extraordinarily bland. But, bless him, Jack Nicholson still has it. On the plus side, there is a fine use of mass transit which accounts for the second memorable moment.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 06, 2012
    Bunch of good actors, plus Owen Wilson, go through the motions of James L. Brooks' latest comedy with few and far between memorable moments. Brooks' best work is about twenty years old and this feels like it is trapped in that time period with little understanding of where comedy has evolved today.
    John B Super Reviewer

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