He’s Just Not That Into You (2009)
Directed by Ken Kwapis
Starring: Too many people
Based on the best-selling, self-help book written by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, that seems as helpful as a book titled “Understanding the Human Condition 101”, the movie tries to act witty, intelligent, and unique but instead falls into one major category: cliche.
The title of the material, He’s Just Not That Into You is basically what the entire 2-hour length of the movie discusses. I’m sorry, but if women need a book or a movie to tell them that a guy isn’t into you if he doesn’t call, doesn’t show interest, avoids your attempted contact, or runs away from your presence screaming bloody murder… then you shouldn’t even qualify to go out on a date.
Though this movie doesn’t present any useful information or real insight to the game of dating, it has an impressive ensemble cast whom all can be connected to one another. To avoid confusion, let me just use their real names: Jennifer Aniston and Ben Affleck play a couple who have been happily together for seven years except for the fact that they’re not married, because Affleck doesn’t believe in marriage. Then there are Jennifer Connelly and Bradley Cooper who have been a couple since college and got married only because they felt it was expected of them. Their unhappiness results in Cooper having an affair with the struggling singer, Scarlett Johansson, who is also leading on Kevin Connolly as her safety net. Meanwhile, Drew Barrymore is having a relationship with some guy through the technology of texts, e-mails, myspace, etc… Ginnifer Goodwin is clueless when it comes to interpreting guys’ intentions… and Justin Long is the one who ends up mentoring Ginnifer.
As you can see there is a lot going on in He’s Just Not That Into You, which wouldn’t be too bad if they cut out all the nonsense going on with most of these stories. This is supposed to be a movie, not an instruction video on what signs to look out for that mean a guy might or might not like you. There wasn’t a real thread of a plot until about 75 minutes into the movie, and having so many characters involved with a central theme made it extremely difficult for the film to accomplish character development. It also ultimately separates the audience from the people in the movie… a clear no-no for a romantic comedy.
The story of Ginnifer’s spunky but naive character was the central one in this movie since her voice is used for voice-overs and she probably took up the most screen time. Despite her importance, I found her incredibly difficult to like. She took her wishful attitude to a level of stalking and pathetic desperation. I was actually looking forward to her repeated failure with guys.
If I had to choose a story I liked the best, I’d have to go with the Aniston and Affleck relationship. Although I’m not a big fan of Aniston, she really excelled in their limited story line by expressing their differences through her pained eyes and deep breaths. It helped that Affleck was a true gentleman to Aniston, but the rule is that if he doesn’t propose to you, he’s not that into you, right? Well, they were the exception to the rule and their pay-off at the conclusion of the film was the most satisfying.
Overall, He’s Just Not That Into You is a collection of relationship skits that shouldn’t be the rulebook of dating for anyone. If only dating involved everyone who looked as beautiful as these actors and who talked out their feelings so openly, right? There wouldn’t be a purpose for this movie to begin with if that was the case… not like this film really had any purpose to begin with. There is a hell of a lot more truth in Judd Apatow’s raunchy R-rated romantic comedies than this.