I DON’T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT–but I sure wish the filmmakers had figured out how to make it look as hard as it is. Instead, the movie feels unimportant, and worse– dated! The movie is based on the best-seller of the same name written by Allison Pearson, wife of  NEW YORKER film critic Anthony Lane. I can’t wait to see what he thinks of the movie.  I did not read the book, but I have lived the life: woman juggling marriage, kid, nanny, high-stress job.  She must do it all perfectly and compete with  non-working moms who seem to effortlessly whip up baked goods in between manicures, and make Martha Stewart look like a slacker. The movie makes it look like, well, a movie.

Sarah Jessica Parker plays Kate, a gifted financier in a high-powered Boston-based financial management firm. Her husband Richard played by the enormously appealing Greg Kinnear is –what else–an architect, the profession of choice for male leads onscreen. (From SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, 500 DAYS OF SUMMER, MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND, YOU ME AND DUPREE, IT’S COMPLICATED, THE NAMESAKE, LOVE ACTUALLY, THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, INDECENT PROPOSAL, FEARLESS, HOUSESITTER, and JUNGLE FEVER, to TV’s MR. ED and THE BRADY BUNCH– that’s  just the tip of the  T-Square). My husband also happens to be an architect. For real.

When Kate and her husband simultaneously score a big asssignments, they are left to balance the children’s birthday parties and holidays, with Kate’s constantly ringing cell phone and impromptu trips to New York; there she wheels and deals with handsome honcho Jack Abelhammer played by Pierce “double ‘o’ heaven” Brosnan. There’s a triangle taking shape here, but the movie rounds off the corners. Kate is never really bothered by all the free-floating sexual tension.  She seems much more uncomfortable about bringing a store bought pie to a school bake sale.  Give me a break. She’s   harried but relentlessly cheerful, and having adorably messy hair is about as much character development as we get. When Kate and hubby get really mad at each other?  They argue like a pair of psychiatrists: “We never talk about anything except logistics,”  he sternly admonishes. I mean, no one even throws a plate.

Then she apologizes, and he fixes the rug, and it’s over. Huh? If the dialogue had crackled; if Kate’s best friend the gorgeously miscast Christina Hendricks (MAD MEN) had a few side-kicky oneliners (think Thelma Ritter, Eve Arden, Joan Cusack, Rosie O’Donnell);  if only the sleek, scene-stealing Olivia Munn as Kate’s robotic workhorse of a junior associate were in every scene, if the film had figured out how to make any of this feel urgent or even timely– I wouldn’t now be thinking: I DON’T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT– and I don’t care.