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McKenna has a lively source in Allison Pearson’s novel I Don’t Know How She Does It, composed of diary entries by a British woman juggling life as a wife and mother of two with a career in a male-dominated financial firm: Pearson’s whirligig rhythms make you feel as if you’re multitasking just reading the book. In the film, directed by Douglas McGrath, the setting is Boston and the heroine, Kate Reddy, played by Sarah Jessica ュParker預nd yes, I cringed at the casting, too, especially when, watching the trailer, I heard Parker deliver the narration in the same voice she used for Carrie in Sex and the City. But Kate is funnier様ess arch葉han Carrie, and Parker reminds you what a dizzy, all-in, high-risk comic actress she can be when she’s not too busy showing off the couture. Her furtive but furious scratching when her kids give her lice is a showstopper, and McGrath and cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh frame her beautifully when she sings 鄭 Bushel and a Peck over the phone to her son while the firm’s handsome boss, Jack Abelュhammer (Pierce Brosnan), gazes on. ュMcGrath’s gentle touch can be a tonic.

The movie is a grab bag of gimmicks, but a high percentage of them work, like the animated lists (Kate is a compulsive list-maker) that appear on the walls above her bed. In modern faux-documentary fashion, characters talk to the camera as if they’re being interviewed about Kate. Christina Hendricks (best friend) is giddy and charming, and Olivia Munn has contrived the perfect voice for Kate’s joyless assistant, a monotone with a hint of a hysterical quaver. But there’s too much of the rich, nonworking mother who bashes Kate from an elliptical machine, and too many lines like another mother’s at a birthday party: 的s this cake organic? The you-can-have-it-all ending is more ュMcKenna pandering.

The most striking gap in I Don’t Know How She Does It is the lack of a distinctive voice for Kate’s husband, Richard (Greg Kinnear), who’s confined to lusting after Kate and registering disapproval of her business trips. He’s, like, an object. So is Abelhammer, although Brosnan brings worldliness and a touch of melancholy to the part. But hey, it’s kind of cool to see men as objects in a mainstream comedy. The Male Gaze, after all, has been well (maybe too well) transmitted. Women still have juicy secrets to spill.

Drive
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.
Bold Films. R.

I Don’t Know How She Does It
Directed by Douglas McGrath.
Weinstein Company. PG-13.

E-mail: filmcritic@newyorkmag.com.


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