He's Just Not That Into You (2009)

February is probably my least favorite month of the year. It is the time when movie studios are caught in the middle of their release schedules. Their Oscar nominees have all hit theaters back in December, and they have to wait a few more months until they could release their blockbusters. So February is the time where movie studios dump off their below average work and hope that their garbage smells better than everyone else's. This means we get movies like The Pink Panther 2, another Friday the 13th, and a whole mess of lousy romantic comedies. Every now and then you do see a genuinely good film in February, such as last year's surprisingly good romantic comedy Definitely, Maybe. I should have known it would be too much to ask for consecutive February's with smart, original films with actual entertainment value to boot. He's Just Not That Into You, based on the popular self-help book by Greg Behrendt, is original but noticably ostentatious and desperately lacking the ability to keep my attention for more than four minutes at a time.

The diabolically intricate plot mostly revolves around Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin), a certified loser in love who can't seem to read the signals that men give her. She looks to her co-worker friends for help but all they can offer are the same meaningless pieces of advice that have become commonplace in our society. But irony lies in the fact that Gigi doesn't know that these friends are the worst possible candidates for help, because they are all having relationship issues themselves. Beth (Jennifer Aniston) has been dating Neil (Ben Affleck) for seven years and still doesn't have a ring on her finger. Janine (Jennifer Connelly) thinks she is in a pleasant marriage but is unaware that her husband Ben (Bradley Cooper) is cheating on her with Anna (Scarlett Johansson), a yoga instructor that he met at a convenience store. But oh no, the plot doesn't stop there. Anna is also teasing Conor (Kevin Connolly), who is trying desperately to convince her that he is the man for her. Meanwhile, Conor is trying to build a a reputation as a good real estate agent by working with Mary (Drew Barrymore) (who I imagine is an advertising agent, although the movie never specifies), who looks for love on internet dating sites and ultimately comes up with nothing. So in this mess (and that really is the only word to describe it), Gigi does manage to find one person that she can talk to and gain helpful advice from. Conor's friend Alex (Justin Long), a certified player that doesn't make it a habit to become attached to any one girl. He's Just Not That Into You tries desperately to be intelligent, but instead is nothing more than a jumbled Rubick's Cube with missing colors.

With such a diverse ensemble and a story that covers all ends of the relationship spectrum, the real charm in He's Just Not That Into You probably should have been bred from the fact that it is highly relatable. The events that take place in the film are, for once, actual every day occurrences! How many romantic comedies have you seen with a ridiculous storyline that makes you bury your head in your hand because it is trying way too hard. It's never just two people who may or may not like each other and so the game of cat and mouse begins. It's always stupid things like Made Of Honor or 27 Dresses or some Hugh Grant movie. But the Gigi character in He's Just Not That Into You is one that I've seen so many times. Not in movies, but in reality! Dating is a tough game to play, and some people just don't get the hang of it. Ginnifer Goodwin as Gigi is but one of the few performances I found to be genuine and enjoyable. Her adorable naivety speaks so much to the main core of the film, which is that nobody really knows what the hell is going to happen. She also exudes an unmistakable energy with co-star Justin Long, the bartender that doubles as her relationship counselor. Long is charming and shows a great deal of maturity in his role. Since he's most known for his roles in Accepted and Dodgeball, it is still in the mind of a movie-goer that he is a young, lovable goofball. Long overcomes this stereotype with ease. And women take notice, everything that Long says in this movie is the absolute truth. Trust me.

Despite some very good performances, He's Just Not That Into You falls into every trap set by a romantic comedy, even with it's unique idea. I have not read the book, but if it progresses the same way the movie does, I'm glad I didn't read it. Screenwriters Marc Silverstein and Abby Kohn show no aptitude in their field and fail to capitalize on the rare opportunity of having an original plot. No wonder this is their first movie they've written since Never Been Kissed back in 1999. With so many different things happening in a script, you would imagine something could happen that would really surprise a viewer. This is never the case, as I was able to decide what was going to happen five minutes before the characters in the movie did. Director Ken Kwapis does not help the matter. He was unable to keep the convoluted plot together and made He's Just Not That Into You verily unwatchable. He should have called Christopher Nolan for help, he's a master at keeping a movie in order. Kwapis has directed multiple episodes of many television shows like "The Office", and has been in charge of disastrous movies like License To Wed and Dunston Checks In (although I must say the latter is a tiny bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. I know it's awful, but cmon, its an orangutan). Given that record, he should stay with his television career and leave directing movies to someone else.

My feelings on He's Just Not That Into You are clearly split down the middle. On one hand, it has some very entertaining performances that aren't what you would typically see in a romantic comedy. The casting director did a magnificent job finding the people that would bring these roles to life. It makes sense that Kevin Connolly, the boyish looking man from "Entourage" would be the guy taken for a ride by an unfaithful girlfriend, reasonably played by Scarlett Johansson. The ending, however cliche and obvious, succeeds in being heart-felt and tender, even making me crack a smile. Briefly. Don't let my girlfriend tell you anything otherwise. But then on the other hand, the pace is unbearable and the writing is clumsy and hackneyed. Not to mention it is half an hour too long. If you are a woman, you will find lots to love about He's Just Not That Into You. If you are a man, you'll just have to take comfort in knowing that you are doing something nice for your girlfriend. If you are a man, and you are seeing this movie just for yourself, I am going to have to deduct 3 man cards from you. My rating (5/10)



1 comment:

  1. its like this movie was written about my life.

    ReplyDelete

Movies given a 10/10

  • Milk
  • In Bruges
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • The Dark Knight
  • Iron Man
  • No Country For Old Men
  • The Shining
  • A Clockwork Orange