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Movie Review - 'He's Just Not That Into You'

He's Just Not That Into You

Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Drew Barrymore, and Scarlett Johansson
Directed by Ken Kwapis
Rated PG-13

hesjustnotthatintoyou_galleryposter.jpg Even without its underlying message that when it comes to relationships, men are always wrong no matter what they think, say, or do, He's Just Not That Into You doesn't distinguish itself as having anything new to offer in the romantic comedy genre.

It is a well-hammered belief that men don't like romcoms, which is not entirely true. Men just hate the overwhelming majority of them, because the overwhelming majority of them aren't very good. But give us Annie Hall or When Harry Met Sally, and we can handle it.

So why are most romantic comedies not up to snuff? Primarily, it's because they're all written with one goal in mind: "And they lived happily ever after." And the only way to avoid being exactly like every other movie with the same finish line is to change the runners in the race, pairing people up who should never be together so that their journey to Happily Ever After isn't based in any kind of reality.

Before we dig much deeper into that, however, let's introduce you to the small city that populates this film. There's Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin), who bounds from first date to first date, investing herself completely into every word a prospective suitor says to her, and tying herself up in knots when he inevitably never calls. He doesn't call, of course, because she's a lunatic, and the film makes no bones about it. You wouldn't want to date her.

We've also got Beth (Jennifer Aniston), who has been living with Neil (Ben Affleck) for seven years. He doesn't want to get married, but since marriage is, apparently, the only thing in the world women care about, Neil's the bad guy. We have two options: They'll break up or he'll come around, realizing how wrong he was to have his own opinion.

Poor Janine (Jennifer Connelly) should be in a happier place. She's married to a guy with a lot going for him (Bradley Cooper), only he's got eyes elsewhere. Like, anywhere and everywhere else. Now, there's no question that her husband Ben is an awful toad of a man; he isn't given a solitary redeeming quality. It's almost surprising that Janine doesn't find a swastika arm band in his laundry.

Hold on - we're not done. There are still more characters to sift through...

Mary is Drew Barrymore. I don't mean that the actress portraying Mary is Drew Barrymore, which is also true, but that the character is that free spirit in a summer dress, the girl with miserable luck finding the right guy.

And finally, there's Anna (Scarlett Johansson). She's the girl in the equation all the females in the audience are supposed to hate. She actively seeks out another woman's husband and tries to break up the marriage, and she has the best body in the movie.

The only other character truly worth mentioning is Alex (Justin Long). Though Long is obviously miscast, Alex is the guy who tells Gigi (remember her?) where she's going wrong, why waiting for a phone call that will never come is a disaster. Alex is also a player, so he's seen and practiced all the lines before. He likes his life the way it is, but will he discover that he's been wrong all this time and fall in love with a complete lunatic?

These cardboard cutouts, each representing a different Cosmo quiz, move from scene to scene because the next scene demands it, not because they're evolving as characters. One of the reasons romantic comedies are so stifling is precisely because the characters aren't thought out. They don't exist and have their own thoughts, they just embody specific traits: Woman in a loveless marriage, Guy who doesn't believe in marriage, Girl who never gets a second date, and Rachel from Friends. Imagine what director Ken Kwapis could've done with the talent he has in this cast if they'd actually been given a real script.

Instead, however, these one-dimensional characters gather at the starting line, wait for the sound of the gun, and run a 100-yard dash to Happily Ever After. And that Happily Ever After is always the same for everyone.

Watch the He's Just Not That Into You trailer


Reader Comments (3)

That makes me sad... I've been looking forward to this one.

Thursday, February 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulian Francis

I really wanted to hate this movie, but it made me laugh -though, I agree that the character of Gigi is a complete Nutter.
Justin Long is adorable, Bradley Cooper is HOT (he's the perfect F*ck buddy), Scarlett is HOT, Ben Affleck is manorexic, Jennifer Aniston is pitiful, Jennifer & Kevin Connelly are both extremely annoying.
This is a chick flick and I predict lots of girls will come out to see it.

Friday, February 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlaura petersen

Jennifer Connelly did a great job in this movie; the plot was really good i thought -- not surprising that this movie is based on a novel

Sunday, February 8, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercoffeerama

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