I Don't Know How She Does It

I Don't Know How She Does It is a 2011 American comedy film based on Allison Pearson's novel of the same name. Directed by Douglas McGrath, the film stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear. It was released on September 16, 2011 and grossed $31 million against its $24 million budget.

I Don't Know How She Does It
I Don't Know How She Does It.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDouglas McGrath
Produced byDonna Gigliotti
Written byAline Brosh McKenna
Based onI Don't Know How She Does It
by Allison Pearson
StarringSarah Jessica Parker
Pierce Brosnan
Greg Kinnear
Christina Hendricks
Kelsey Grammer
Seth Meyers
Olivia Munn
Music byAaron Zigman
CinematographyStuart Dryburgh
Edited byCamilla Toniolo
Distributed byThe Weinstein Company
Release date
‹See TfM›
  • September 16, 2011 (2011-09-16)
Running time
89 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$24 million[2]
Box office$31.4 million[3]


Back from a business trip, Kate (Sarah Jessica Parker), receives a reminder from her daughter, Emily's (Emma Rayne Lyle) kindergarten bake sale for the next day. Didn’t want her daughter to feel different from other children, Kate wanted to bake something homemade, but the deli shop near her was out of baking supplies. Kate bought a store-baked pie and a glass pie holder and went home to distress it to make it more homemade like. Back home, she is greeted by her husband, Richard (Greg Kinnear). Kate and Richard attempted to have sex that night, but she fell asleep due to exhaustion. In the middle of the night, Kate went up to check on her children as she couldn’t sleep. She started making a mental list of tasks as she usually does which results in her insomnia. The next morning, she was greeted with a huge hug and laughter by her 2-year-old son, Ben (Theodore and Julius Goldberg). Unlike her daughter who is slightly older, who tends to display her dissatisfaction with Kate’s travelling and busy schedule. Whilst making breakfast, Kate notices Richard is well-dressed and realizes he is going to an important meeting. Kate pleads for Richard to stay put for 5 more minutes as she heads to bathe as the baby sitter, Paula, isn’t here to take over (Jessica Szohr). Richard is going to talk to Paula about her tardiness but is stopped by Kate, to ensure Paula’s willingness to stay put with the Reddy’s family.

As per usual, Kate and Emily are once late again for circle time, much to the dismay of the teacher. Afterwards, Kate meets her good friend, Allison (Christina Hendricks), a single mother working as a lawyer who brings a tub of un-set JELL-O for the bake sale. They later encounter “the Momsters” – Wendy Best (Busy Philipps) and Janine LoPietro (Sarah Shahi), who are the typical fit and highly involved stay-at-home mothers. The foursome have a rather awkward conversation, noting the fact that the 2 groups of women had nothing in common other than the fact that they are mothers of children going to the same school. At work, Kate’s boss, Clark Cooper (Kelsey Grammer) assigns a new project with Jack Abelhammer (Pierce Brosnan) to Kate rather than Bunce (Seth Meyers)– the “DOA” (Designated Office Asshole) who scores more project as he entertains clients with dance shows and drinks unlike Kate. After the meeting, Bunce tries to parent guilt Kate into dropping the project. The night before her meeting in NYC with Jack, Kates accidentally sends a sexually charged IM to Jack that is meant to be a joke for Allison. In the morning as Kate leaves her house with her children calling out to her, she cries from guilt towards her children. Later, Kate arrives at NYC and meets Jack with Momo (Olivia Munn) her junior research analyst who is opposed to Kate’s lifestyle and is highly career-driven. Kate apologizes to Jack for the IM and later on found out she has lice. Throughout the meeting with Jack, Kate scratches her head profusely but manages to conclude the meeting favorably. Before Emily’s 6th birthday celebration commences Kate, who has already accepted the project with Jack, hesitates in telling Richard about the good news given what it entails, and that Richard too has also successfully gotten a major project. Right before Richard opens the door to guests, Kate decides she could not hold it in anymore and blurts out with Richard standing emotionlessly at the front door. During the party, Richard’s mother, Marla (Jane Curtin) displays dismay with how both Kate and Richard are working and hopes that Kate could spend more time with the children. After the party, Kate reassures Richard that they would make it work, that nothing will fall through the cracks.

Weeks past as Kate travels between Boston and NYC, seemingly perfectly juggling her personal life and her major project with Jack. After spending more time together, Kate is apparently impressed by Jack’s character, noting that he is vastly different from Bunce. Jack on the other hand, begins to grow admiration for Kate. During a dinner between Kate and Jack, Jack reveals that he was married once to someone he loved who fell sick and passed away. Leaving him leading a simpler life of being career-focused. Kate then revealed she wished to be considered as “Bill” a guy rather than a working mother in the eyes of Jack. Jack sends Kate home by getting her a cab, kissed her cheek, leaving Kate dumbfounded for response. After that night, Kate becomes more conscious in her contacts with Jack to maintain professional while Jack signs off "XO" in his. After a team meeting in Boston, Momo revealed to Kate that she is pregnant and is dealing with it, alludes to an abortion. Kate tries to convince Momo that she too can achieve the best of both worlds. In the middle of her sentence, she freaks out realizing she is late in taking over Richard back home. She rushes home while calling Richard to apologize for being late as she already knew he has an important dinner. Finally, Kate reaches home to an unfamiliar face – a new baby sitter who fell asleep while tending to the children. That night, Kate and Richard had a fight over the new baby sitter, who was unfamiliar to the family.

After a meeting with Jack in Cleveland, Kate and Jack head to dinner and discuss that how despite travelling a lot, they spend most of their time in hotels and airports. Rather than enjoying the famous spots the places have to offer. Recalling a past conversation, Jack brings Kate to a bowling alley. Kate was impressed that a man like Jack turns out to be an excellent bowler. Back at the hotel as they are to part, Jack states he has more fun that night bowling with Kate than with his buddies in college. Recounting the memories with Jack, Kate reassures Allison that there is nothing between them, that they’re platonic friends. Allison of course is not buying that and joked about Kate is only allowed to cheat if she tells her everything. Before thanksgiving weekend, Kate informs Momo that she will be taking 5 days off from work to spend more time with her family at Atlanta. Momo reveals to Kate that she is planning to keep the baby much to Kate’s excitement. Later, Bunce taunts Kate for taking time off work and that he is ready to takeover from her anytime. Kate notes that Bunce is the kind of guy who will sweep in at the last minute to take credit for something that someone else has worked hard for. While in Atlanta, Kate as a gesture to Richard, decides to silence her phone and be fully present during the week with the family. All is going well as Kate prepares thanksgiving dinner for the family. Until after dinner, Kate can’t help but notices that her phone has been lighting up intensively but decides to ignore it due to her gesture to Richard and the family. That is until Momo finally call through to her about a work emergency. Kate rushes to her phone with Richard looking displease. Turns out, the pitch with Jack must take place the next day due to some scheduling conflict. Jack was willing to let Bunce takeover if Kate couldn’t make it. Richard who is annoyed wants Kate to stay. However, Kate is unwilling to let Bunce take the credit for the work she has done. Before Kate leaves, Ben finally spoke his first words, “Bye Bye, Mama”. Everyone is thrilled while Marla notices the irony of it.

Before the pitch, Momo experiences morning sickness and her conditions worsen with her falling asleep mid-presentation and projecting her baby’s ultrasound during the presentation. Momo apologizes to Kate and hope that she didn’t screw things up for her. Despite her initial worries, Kate is reassured by Jack that the pitch went well. Jack informs Kate that he will be having lunch with the investor and seems to have no intention of calling Kate along. Momo is angry that Jack didn’t account for Kate which is unfair as the project is very much both of theirs. Kate tries to play down the situation to Momo. However, much to both of their surprise, Jack returns and invites Kate to lunch since they are a team. The lunch with the investor went extremely well, but Jack later realizes he had tons of miss calls from Kate. The miss calls are from Richard, who couldn’t get in touch with Kate. He calls to inform Kate that Ben has fallen down the stairs and hits his head. Kate rushes back to join them in the hospital, after which Kate and Richard had a fight over what has happened. They conclude the fight with Richard stating that they don’t spend time together anymore. That night, Kate once again couldn’t sleep and decides to pull herself up together and stop making lists – to be more spontaneous and stop planning for everything. The next morning, to comfort Emily, Kate promises to build a snowman with the family during the next snow. At work, Kate receives a phone call from Jack who flew from NYC to Boston for Kate with the good news that their project was funded that their fund is finally on a pilot program. He then confesses his romantic feelings for her. Kate appreciates his feelings for her but states that she is very much in love with Richard and only wants to be with him.

Suddenly, it begins to snow. Recalling her promise to her daughter, Kate bid Jack farewell and rushes off to Emily’s kindergarten. Emily asks Richard if Kate will show up to fulfill her promise. However, Richard being dejected blatantly replied that she is working, implying she won’t. Kate finally shows up, looking around anxiously for Richard and the kids. Once their eyes meet, Kate and Richard walk to each other and Kate apologizes for prioritizing work. Realizing that family is much more important, that she has officially cut down her time on work and will not be disappointing her family anymore. Richard then in his way apologizes to Kate by bringing out a notepad with the actual list of tasks to do, implying that he will be taking on more responsibility and share the burden with Kate. At the top of his list, is to prioritize and work on his relationship with Kate. “The Momsters” then appeared, with Kate proudly exclaiming that she indeed brought store-made pie to the bake sale. Afterwards, Kate and Richard hug and kiss as they hurried off to their children to build a snowman with them. Months later, Momo gives birth to a baby boy. Ben turns 3, Kate and Richard look happier than ever. Kate introduces Allison to Jack and that relationship seems to be going well.



I Don't Know How She Does It was released for North American audiences on September 16, 2011.

Box officeEdit

I Don't Know How She Does It opened at #6 on its opening weekend with $4,402,201.[5] It earned $9,662,284 in the United States as well as $20,889,211 internationally for a worldwide total of $30,551,495.[3]


On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 17% based on 112 reviews, with an average rating of 3.99/10. The site described the film as "[a] limp comedy with a hopelessly outdated viewpoint on gender, featuring Sarah Jessica Parker in rote Carrie-mode."[6] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 38 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[7] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale.[8]

Sarah Jessica Parker earned a Razzie Award nomination as Worst Actress for her performance in the movie (also for New Year's Eve), but lost to Adam Sandler for his performance in drag in Jack and Jill.


  1. ^ "I Don't Know How She Does It (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 2011-09-08. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
  2. ^ Kaufman, Amy (September 15, 2011). "Movie Projector: 3-D version of 'Lion King' to reign at box office". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
  3. ^ a b I Don't Know How She Does It at Box Office Mojo
  4. ^ The New York Times (filmography) Natalie Gold, Retrieved August 7, 2014
  5. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for September 16-18, 2011". Box Office Mojo. 2011-09-18. Retrieved 2013-08-22.
  6. ^ "I Don't Know How She Does It (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster, Inc. Retrieved April 11, 2020.
  7. ^ "I Don't Know How She Does It reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  8. ^ "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.

External linksEdit