Sep 26, 2011

Book Movie Review by Marielle Lorenz

I don’t know why they do it.

My friend Mel and I decided to do our own book club through her new blog. As avid book readers, we wanted to continue the “Oprah’s book club” tradition and promote, read and have a quorum amongst us and her followers with the commitment to then come back and review our impression of the book vs. the movie.

The first book suggested, was a light easy to read title that had the movie version coming up. The book is called “I don’t know how she does it” by Allison Pearson. We had both seen the trailers and it seemed it had a “sex & the city” meets “working girl” kinda of feeling, so we agreed to start the book club with this title. Her followers agreed, so the reading began.

We both read the book quite fast; there was a predictability in its writing but it had its fun moments. The story was about a hard working heroine (like ourselves) and how difficult it is to be a working mother and be able to juggle work/personal life while staying sane and not letting the guilt eat much of however unbalanced her time was. It also touched on the male vs. female perception in positions of power, and how women still have to give double the effort to prove themselves in a man’s world.

With this premise, I was open to seeing how this was going to be visually expressed in a 1 ½ hour movie, even though the trailer was already showing me that they were taking some “creative license” and making it… more Americanized?

For you to understand what I’m saying if you have not read the book, let me give you a quick summary of the story (spoiler alert if you plan to read it):

The story centers on Kate Reddy, a list making financial analyst in London, working for a top prestigious firm, married to Richard the architect with two children: Emily a 4 year old and Ben an almost 2 year old. Kate is considered the “bread winner” of the family and she is always traveling as part of her job role, making her feel guilty of her time spent away from her family. Kate has a great single co-worker friend who tends to sleep around and have no commitment; then there is Jack Ablehammer, Kate’s new attractive client from NY who she ends up kissing at some point, which creates a distance with Richard, who ends up leaving for two weeks since he’s tired of being the mom, who then comes back. There’s Clark her boss, whose wife used to be a working woman herself, gave it up to be a mom, was dying (and died) of cancer: there’s Chris Bounce, the macho jackass of the company; there’s Momo a new Harvard graduate associate who starts at the firm with a middle eastern descent, works with Kate, gets humiliated by Bounce, which gets Kate fed up, which she plans to bring him down with Momo, which then made her realize that it was ok to give up the job to be with her family (after seeing how much she loves Richard), which made her plan a successful idea that gets Bounce fired, Momo promoted and ends the book having her be a happy mom with her own business in development. Ohh…and her slutty friend becomes preggers, decide to keep the baby and also become a successful biz owner. The End. There are also a bunch of side characters, but they are not worth mentioning since they just add fluff and embellishment to both the book and the movie.

Then I went to see the movie on opening weekend.

I already knew that the screen version of Kate was from either NY or somewhere in the northeast, and that the client was also close and that she was married to Richard and that Momo was also part of the movie. I knew this from the trailer. I also knew that Kate was Sarah Jessica Parker (a.k.a. Carrie Bradshaw) and that Richard was the sweet Greg Kennear and that the dashing client was the Brioni wearing Pierce Brosnan, and that the red haired from mad men was also there (was she the best friend from work?) and that Momo was the biggest surprise since they cast a new up and coming TV-to-Theater actress named Olivia Munn, who does not look middle eastern at all…still after this rational dissertation I was still game to see this film. After all, it is a chick flick and I’m always up for one.

Now, what I didn’t expect was for the screenwriter and director to take a different route and make this a “women-can-have-it-all” kind of movie: I simply didn’t buy it. First, I like SJP as Kate. I can see that. I can see Greg Kennear as the hubby as well- I can see him be an architect if he decided to quit Hollywood type of guy- so ok. The mad men lady (Cristina Hendricks) was this lawyer friend that did nothing throughout the movie and ends up dating the hunky client Jack at the end (where was this in the book?) and Momo ends up being the one pregnant…huh???? And for the happy ending…she stays at the firm, Richard starts making lists (come again?) and they lived happily ever after, the end.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am all for balance, and I do agree that there are women out there in the work force that have been one of the lucky few whom have demanded some time to dedicate to their families while staying in their position of power. But if I wanted to see this, I would have bought myself a ticket to a women’s conference. My point is that the book sold me on a premise that it is OK to choose family over a demanding career; that it is ok to reinvent yourself for the benefit of your kids and come up strong. Why did the screenwriter decide to water it down…which makes me go to the studio behind the movie, the Weinstein Company, which is run by Harvey Weinstein, married to one of the most successful business women in fashion (Catherine Chapman of Marchesa) which is also the current boss of SJP (she’s the Creative director at Halston, which she owns) who then makes me believe that this is simply a business venue to make money using SJP at a discount rate, cutting production costs making the character out of Boston, the Client in NY and really not making a big deal about the short flight time Kate dedicates to see her client and be away from her kids. Which then trick women like me who liked the book, liked SJP and end up paying the full movie ticket price for a movie that has a very different outcome than the original story.

Then again, I should have known. I should have read the sign of the 20% super low review score, of the very vague trailer…I don’t know. Maybe it was Brosnan in his Brioni suit (who can say no to a former James Bond), maybe was the nostalgia of Sex in the City, who knows…all I can say is that the movie was disappointing for not staying true to its premise.

So, my recommendation is: if you are still interested in reading something lighthearted, read the book and skip the movie. And for those who read the book and saw the movie…what are your thoughts?


  1. Amiga: I highly apologize to you (and your followers) on the grammar errors. Mostly, the name of Mr.Weinstein's wife, which is Georgina instead of Catherine (what was I thinking?)

    But thank you for posting :)

  2. Yo fui a ver la pelicula con Michelle y Graciella, luego la vi una segunda vez con mi mama.
    Es verdad que yo les iba diciendo, eso no paso asi, eso no paso asa. Pero al final cuando ella se queda con un supuesto balance entre el trabajo y familia, alli si les dije: asi no termina!!! That's not true!!
    But, siendo una mujer que ha pasado por producciones de peliculas donde el estudio tiene la ultima palabra, entiendo ahora el por que en los creditos iniciales se tiene que colocar el: Based on the book tal... Asi uno sabe que puede que lo cambien.
    Me encantaron los actores, obviamente me encanto lo fashion de SJP, me gusto la pelicula siempre y cuando se aclare que ES MUY DISTINTA al libro. En la peli hacen mucha distincion entre las mamas que trabajan y las que no, cosa que yo aun vivo en carne propia todos los dias en el colegio de mis hijos, e inclusive con mis amigas que no trabajan y tienen mucho mas tiempo que yo para todo.
    Por otro lado el libro me recuerda a una amiga que decidio dejar su vida profesional, su ciudad, sus amigos y cambiarla por empezar su familia. Chapo! A esa amiga siempre admirare y me alegro tanto de verla cada dia mejor! Some day, some day will be my turn!

  3. pelicula tiene capacidad de audiencia...y creo que al final, lo que queda es la busqueda del eterna batalla!

  4. Me encanto el review. Que vamos a leer ahora?

  5. Hi:
    There are a few books that have been made into movies that will come out by end of the year and in 2012. We could also just select a book and have our group discussion as well. Here are my suggestions:

    Book to Movie list:

    1) Girl with the dragon tatoo- this is a movie remake also. I read the book and saw the swedish movie, but I love David Fincher and he is doing his own rendition and it's coming out in December. This could be an interesting review.
    2) The hunger games- is a teen movie, but it is very entertaining. The movie is coming next year.
    3) Cosmopolis- Doesn't have a release date, but it will come in 2012.
    4) The hobbit- this is a classic. I read it a long time ago, but I am going to read it again so I can have a refreshed story when I see the movie.
    5) One for the money- this is another chick flick. The book is written by Jane Evanovich and is from a Stephanie Blum series (there are about 18 books using this character to date).
    6) Cloud Atlas- The movie version is being directed by the Wachowski brothers (The Matrix saga) and it has an incredible cast. It is schedule to release in October 2012.

    Books without movie production:
    1) The Marriage Plot: A Novel- This is the latest novel from the amazing Jeffrey Eugenides. He is the amazing writer behind "The virgin suicides" and "middlesex". I have already downloaded into my kindle and I'm ready to start!
    2) Cutting for Stone-they are saying it has a "kite runner" feel and style, so I'm interested.
    3) The Paris Wife-a novel. This book falls in the fiction/non fiction category. It's about Hemingway's first wife and the writer's theory on how their marriage life was based on her research/findings.
    4) Rules of Civility- Mel and I just read this book. We can also post this one for review.
    5) The night circus- If you liked "water for elephants" then this is a must read. I can bet anything that the movie rights have already been bought. I see this turning into a movie either next year or in 2013.

    So there you have it...good and ample selection. Any other suggestions are welcomed as well.

    Si necesitan la lista en Español dejenlo saber y la envio.

  6. Yo lei The Paris WIfe. Me gusto el libro y ver el lado mas personal de Hemingway, ya que mi marido es su fan numero uno.

    Si voy por la mitad de RUles of Civility, good so far.

    Me encantaria ller The Marriage Plot.

    Lisa, tu me recomendaste uno frances, como se llama? autor?

    Esto me encanta!