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.



Reviews Counted: 149

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User Ratings: 41,909


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Reviews Count: 0
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Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 2.5/5

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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

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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
William Blagrove
as Matty's Teammate
Will 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)

Audience Reviews for How Do You Know

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 Rose
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

Hmm, well, based on the talent involved, this had the possibility of being amazing. Considering the reception this film got, I was a little befuddled, but was hoping to be pleasantly surprised. Well, I've seen it now, and....the film is not terrible, just terribly mediocre. The main issues are that the script is just dull, the characters aren't really all that interesting, and everyone just looks bored and uninspired...especially Jack, who pretty much just phones it in and plays himself, but goes by the name of Charles. Also, this film, like many of Brooks's, goes on far too long, but here it's not worth it because the film isn't all that interesting. It's not a complete loss though. Reese and Rudd are actually decent, and I kind of liked their characters, but I couldn't stand Wilson here. He's just too frustrating and a little of his character goes a long way. Plus, there are a few good scenes, but overall, this film just seems all over the place, messy, and in need of some revisions. If you feel you need to see this, then see it, but catch it on tv or something. There are far worse films that are just as sweet and well-meaning, but this one was just really came off all the worse because there's some great people involved.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


Lisa: Never drink to feel better; drink to feel even better. How Do You Know is the story of Lisa (played wonderfully by the beautiful Reese Witherspoon) who got cut from her professional softball team and confused about her relationship with major league pitcher Matty (played by Owen Wilson in his usual knuckle-head and awkward role) and doesn't quite know what she's doing with her life. Enter corporate executive George (played by Paul Rudd in a surprisingly real and astounding performance), who is being investigated for something along with his father Charles (amazingly played by the legendary Jack Nicholson in another pitch-perfect role). The real scene stealer is Kathryn Hahn, who plays George's loyal, pregnant, and honest secretary Annie in her most hilarious role since 2008's hit comedy Step Brothers, where she played John C. Reily's love interest. Put all of this together, and we now have ourselves a James L. Brooks movie. Read the full review at

Matt Goodman
Matt Goodman

Super Reviewer

Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson, Jack Nicholson, Kathryn Hahn, Mark Linn-Baker, Lenny Venito, Molly Price, Shelley Conn, Tony Shalhoub Director: James L. Brooks Summary: Feeling spurned after being cut from the national team due to her age, newly single softball player Lisa (Reese Witherspoon) finds herself in the middle of a heated love triangle, as a professional baseball player (Owen Wilson) and a business executive (Paul Rudd) compete for her affections. My Thoughts: "The film is a mess. It's such a disappointment because I had a little bit of high hopes considering the cast. I really don't understand what the film was suppose to be about. In the end, I think it was "How Do You Know", when you are in love. I loved the film 'Overnight Delivery', and I was hoping to catch a glimpse of that chemistry between Reese and Rudd again in this film. Unfortunately I think the writing put that spark out for this film. I did enjoy Paul and Kathryn's screen time. She was funny in the movie and those scenes are my favorite in the film. The rest is a blur that I will most likely never remember considering the film is forgettable."


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