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Gimmick-Free RomCom Gives Us Some Hope

Well, here's something that doesn't look like it sucks: the trailer for Reese Witherspoon's new movie, How Do You Know, in which she plays a professional softball player torn between Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson.

Although it's sort of exhausting to see Owen Wilson play dumb yet again and the pacing seems a bit sluggish for a trailer — maybe to indicate that this has more gravitas than the standard fare — so far what's suggested by the trailer is promising. It's got a few laughs, it's written and directed by James L. Brooks (As Good As It Gets, Broadcast News), and Witherspoon's character isn't hunting desperately for Mr. Right — she's actually ambivalent about whether she's supposed to follow the plan laid out for her. Also, Paul Rudd. Paul. Rudd. (Not in a yellow tuxedo, sadly, unless it was cut from the trailer.)


The question at the center of the movie is one that just about anyone can connect with, no hackneyed setup required: when do you know when you're truly in love with someone? (There's always the definition offered by a baseball player in the movie: that it's when you start using condoms with the other girls.)


Here's how Brooks described it to New York's Vulture blog:

"Two people meet on the worst nights of their lives, and they're being tested by adversity. I think the thing about life is, most of us reach that point where life can't be the same when this thing happens. It's just then when you have to give everything you've got and pray that it's enough."

Bit of a contrast from the trailer's relative sweetness and light. And according to The New York Times, Brooks "became fixed on the notion of making a film about a young female athlete" after his daughter started playing soccer. He did hours and hours of interviews before choosing softball.

The movie's not out until Christmas. But at the end of this month, we'll find out if Going The Distance, another romantic comedy with an unaffected, relatable premise is 1) any good and 2) does well enough at the box office to merit similar efforts.


Related: James L. Brooks Tells Vulture the New Title for His Upcoming Film...For Now [NYM]
James Brooks Film Bucks Trend [NYT]
Earlier: Drew Barrymore's Gimmick-Free Romcom

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There isn't one clue in the trailer that Reese plays softball. But it has Paul Rudd,!