How do you know? * *

Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson in Hampstead.

Cinema and TRAILER: Keaton brings the common touch to the Heath in tale of London life

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There is a moment in James L Brooks’s overlong romantic comedy when one of the characters stops her dinner companion from gabbling incessantly and suggests they eat in total silence.

He obliges and for 30 blissful seconds, we’re granted temporary respite from the greetings-card platitudes and psychiatrist-couch epithets, which seem to pass for conversation in How Do You Know.

The characters certainly talk a lot but they say very little, rephrasing the same feelings and regrets until they finally get their point across.

Which is: All you need is love.

The Beatles conveyed the sentiment beautifully in fewer than four minutes, so it’s a mystery why it takes Brooks two hours to come to the same startling conclusion.

His perky and neurotic heroine is Lisa (Reese Witherspoon), a star athlete on the USA Softball National Team.

Her entire life is invested in the sport and she wakes each morning to a sea of Post-it notes covered in motivational jargon on her bathroom mirror.

Unexpectedly cut from the team, Lisa’s world implodes and she seeks sanctuary in the arms and bed of major league baseball pitcher and incorrigible ladies man, Matty (Owen Wilson).

During a brief pause in the relationship, Lisa goes on a first date with businessman George (Paul Rudd), just as he learns that he is being prosecuted for wire fraud.

How Do You Know is a slight and predictable tale of modern-day love, padded with various subplots.

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