The James L. Brooks Romantic Comedy You Didn’t Know About

By  · Published on August 12th, 2010

With the all-seeing eye of the internet watching every single movie production in existence (even the one your parents are making right now), it’s incredible when something flies under the radar. It’s even more incredible when it’s from an Oscar winner and fan favorite.

Still, it seems that the new James L. Brooks romantic comedy How Do You Know completely flew under said radar until some promotional materials ended up in the Reject carrier pigeon drop this morning.

Romantic Comedies have been sorely lacking these days. The studio formula seems to include cramming as many names and as little heart into them as possible, so seeing Brooks’s name involved in the directing game again is something to celebrate.

Plus, with Paul Rudd squaring off against Owen Wilson, there’s something else there to celebrate.

Brooks is probably best known for starring as himself on an episode of “The Simpsons,” (and for writing 463 episodes of the show), but he’s also the director of modern classics like Broadcast News and As Good As It Gets.

With How Do You Know, Brooks will most likely be taking that somber-sweet comedy approach to a story of a love triangle between a professional softball player, a professional baseball player, and a corporate executive.

Reese Witherspoon plays the softball player (fulfilling the stereotype of all softball players as prissy, girly girls), Paul Rudd plays the executive, and Owen Wilson plays a cocky pitcher with a 94-mile an hour fastball.

It seems strange to be commending something that sounds so by-the-book, but 1) Brooks manages to bring a real notion of humanity to his romantic comedies and b) maybe by-the-old-book is exactly what the genre needs right now to steal its sense back from Taylor Swift, Ashton Kutcher, and a dozen of their closest friends.

Beyond the main cast, Jack Nicholson is all set to re-team with Brooks on the project and it also sees comedic genius Kathryn Hahn on board.

Check out two photos from the production. One involves Witherspoon in a concerned, heartfelt moment with Wilson, and the other sees Classic Witherspoon Face meeting Classic Rudd Face on a park bench. The meeting of these two iconic looks is something even Zoolander couldn’t have predicted.

Clicking makes them even bigger.

It doesn’t have any hot softball action, but just in case pictures in motion seals the deal, here’s the trailer:

Sarcasm aside, Rudd and Wilson are two of the most impressive comedic talents out there, and it’s great to see a writer/director like Brooks back in the director’s chair. Hollywood could learn a thing or two from him.

How Do You Know comes out this December.

Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector Podcast@brokenprojector | Writing short stories at Adventitious.