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How Do You Know Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Most words-per-minute semi-comedy of the year. Read full review


Jen Yamato Profile

Let's talk about love. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 0

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    No need to belabor the awfulness of this film, a romantic comedy devoid of romance - instead of chemistry there's the flow of reverse magnetism - and lacking in comic timing, let alone comic content.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    How Do You Know must have started with a good idea that got lost in the translation from concept to screen.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    A low-impact romantic comedy-drama from James L. Brooks in which the central characters are strangely disconnected from one another as well as from the audience.

    Read Full Review

  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    How Do You Know asks really good questions but doesn't so much answer them as toss the ball from player to player until the clock runs out.

    Read Full Review

  • See all How Do You Know reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 13+

Complex romcom is sweet, if not a home run.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this sweet (if not amazing) romantic comedy starring Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, and Owen Wilson centers on characters in the grip of identity crises -- a topic that may be a little too thorny for young teens to enjoy or really identify with. Nevertheless, it has an appealing message about allowing yourself to be flawed and confused and being kind to yourself so that you can figure out a way out of your dilemmas. There’s a bit of swearing (including "s--t" and "f--k"), some characters drink to excess, and there are a few fairly sexy scenes (implied sex, some moans and groans, discussion of playing the field, cleavage, etc.). The movie was initially rated R but received a PG-13 on appeal.

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages. What is it saying about figuring out who you are and what you want? Does it explore these ideas in an unusual way? Teens: Can you relate to what the characters are going through?
  • How do you think being cut from the team affected Lisa? Why? Teens: Have you ever gone through anything similar?
  • What is the appeal of romantic comedies? Although they tend to follow the same predictable formula, they remain popular. Why do you think that is?
  • What messages do romantic comedies send about love and relationships? Are these messages healthy or realistic for teens, who are just starting to navigate their own romantic relationships?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: The movie offers some reassuring messages about figuring your life out on your own schedule and the importance of knowing what you want and finding a way to get it. It also has a hopeful message about our ability to fashion the life we want with just "small adjustments."

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Almost everyone is at least likable here (except for Jack Nicholson as a narcissistic father). Owen Wilson’s character is somewhat overconfident and clueless (as well as a bit of a ladies' man); nevertheless, he tries and often means well.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: Not an issue

  • sex false3

    Sex: A couple is seen after they've been intimate; the woman is in lingerie, and the man’s chest is bare under the covers; they discuss the fact that they had sex and talk about how good (or not) it was. They sleep together another time, too (some sounds). Other cleavage/shirtless men shots. Some discussion of one character’s propensity for sleeping around. A man and a woman discuss how powerful their sexual chemistry is. A man's hand on a woman's breast. Talk of condom use. Passionate kissing.

  • language false3

    Language: Relatively infrequent use of words like "f--k," "s--t," "prick," "damn," "oh my God," "hell," and "crap."

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: Some logos are visible, including Adidas, Team USA, and Play-Doh, plus Cheerios and Life cereals.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A man gets drunk after receiving some bad news. Some social drinking, sometimes to the point of drunkenness.