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June 20, 2011
How Do You Know Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
10/2/20118/6/2011Sony PicturesJames L. Brooks
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MReese Witherspooon

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Reese Witherspoon stars in How Do You Know.

Writer and director of How Do You Know should need no introduction - he's James L. Brooks the creator of The Simpsons. With an A-List cast of actors including Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd and Jack Nicholson we had some pretty high expectations for this film.

When everything she's ever known is suddenly taken from her Lisa (Reese Witherspoon) begins a fling with Matty (Owen Wilson) a major league baseball player and self-centered ladies’ man. Before their relationship takes off Lisa meets up with George (Paul Rudd) a straight-arrow businessman facing his own serious issues both with his father (Jack Nicholson) and the law.

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Yes, Jack's back with gifts too!
As a movie this looks good, has some heartfelt performances, but the plot and twists and turns are so obvious from start to finish that there is little to surprise here. Performances across the board are solid, but each seems to be going through the motions here.

Perhaps How Do You Know's biggest issue is that it's just so pedestrian in setting things up and there's a lack of genuine laughs. Indeed there was only one moment which I actually laughed out loud - it involves the identity of a baby's father and I won't spoil it for you - but the rest of the film only elicited some smiles here and there.

This movie had all the right ingredients to work, but just falls flat with a lack of humour, a lack of chemistry between some actors and a slow pace. As a fan of all the actors involved I wanted to like this movie, but just can't say that it's worth any more than a rental.

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How Do You Know is out on Blu-Ray now.
One thing that this release does get right is the video transfer which offers a clean, natural looking image free of any film artifacts or blemishes. Sony Pictures have encoded the release at the film’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio using the AVC MPEG-4 codec and while it won't win any awards for a romantic comedy it's decent looking with some fine detail and natural skin tones.

How Do You Know is presented on Blu-Ray with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which sounds good, but never reaches a point where you would be "wowed". Surround sound use is minimal at best and being such a dialogue driven movie the audio extremely front heavy although dialogue is always clear to understand. Unfortunately the music from the legendary Hans Zimmer isn't one of his best efforts and is so understated that it never really has any time to shine as it should.

Other audio tracks include Italian and Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (16-bit/48Khz) lossless tracks as well as Catalan Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 640kbps. An English Descriptive Service encoded with Dolby Digital 5.1 at 640kbps is also included on the disc and is a decent track. Subtitles are provided in English, English SDH, Italian, Spanish, and Hindi. We sampled the English track which was accurate to the on-screen dialogue with only very minor cuts for pacing. Commentary subtitles are also available in English, Italian and Spanish which is a nice inclusion.

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Paul Rudd stars in How Do You Know.
By far the biggest disappointment we have with this Blu-Ray is the lack of extras on the disc.

Commentary with Filmmakers: This audio commentary includes the director James L. Brooks and cinematographer Janusz Kaminski and they cover plenty of topics about the development of this film, their work on other films, working with actors, the sets and so much more. About half way through the film some women join in the conversation but we're not sure who they are - we think one of them is producer Paula Weinstein.

Select Scenes Commentary with James L. Brooks and Owen Wilson: This select scene commentary sees the two participants exchange some banter during some scenes in the film. In total, they probably talk for about 30 minutes in total.

Deleted Scenes (11:39/HD): With optional commentary from James L. Brooks we have sixteen scenes here including an alternate ending. With a runtime just under 30 minutes there's plenty here, and they are all in HD, but given the films 2 hour runtime it's understandable why they were cut.

Blooper Reel (1:57/HD): Back of the box. Blooper Reel. Tick. At under 2 minutes it's not ever worth your time. In fact, if it was longer it wouldn't be either.

Extra Innings (15:02/HD): Here we have the "Making of" documentary for the disc which has interviews with James L. Brooks, as well as other cast and crew. It's not overly detailed, but there's some interesting moments here.

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Owen Wilson picks the pink shirt!
A Conversation with James L. Brooks and Hans Zimmer (25:59/HD): Certainly the most interesting extra on this disc, and well worth a look, is this conversation between the director and one of the greatest movie composers in the world. It's quite open and frank and well worth checking out.

Interactive Script Gallery (HD): Not the most exciting extra we've ever seen but what we have here is 352 pages which is the entire script for the movie. Probably interesting if you ever want to become a scriptwriter and need a template to look at but realistically not many people would read all this.

"The George" with Optional Commentary (1:36/HD): Here you can learn how to make "The George" drink as featured in the film.

How Do You Know isn't a bad movie, it's just that it seems to go nowhere and when it does, it takes so long to get there that you never know why it took so long. Fortunately the visual and audio transfers are very solid however the extras aren't the best seen. For most this is a rental at best.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Sony Pictures. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.