Based on the popular advice book by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, He's Just Not That Into You stars a plethora of stars in an ensemble romantic comedy that, when all is said and done, defeats the purpose of its premise. Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Connelly, Justin Long, Scarlett Johansson, Bradley Cooper, Drew Barrymore and others all star in the film to show examples of how women should stop overanalyzing men's actions when it's completely obvious what they're thinking.
Affleck and Aniston play a couple who have been living together for years but who've never been married; is that a sign that he's just not into her? Goodwin plays a cute, bubbly but paranoid young woman who goes on dates but then freaks out when guys don't call her back. Connelly plays the wife of Cooper, but with their marriage on the ropes begins to realize that he may be cheating on her with Johansson. All I can say is that Cooper is either in the most envious or most horrible of positions, as he has to choose between Connelly and Johansson, two of the most beautiful women on the planet. Lucky bastard. Barrymore plays a woman who has been affected by the modern technology dance of dating; she gets confused by the mixed messages when a guy sends a note on MySpace but was expecting a real phone call. Long is, presumably, the voice of the book, as he explains to Goodwin the rules that reveal when a guy is just not that into her.
He's Just Not That Into You is a harmless romantic comedy that is easy enough to watch. Despite the amount of characters, director Ken Kwapis and screenwriters Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein balance things out quite well. Most of the characters are interesting and at least somewhat believable, and there's always something going on.
So, you could do a lot worse.
But when it comes right down to it, there's not a lot to grab onto, either. The book is, as I understand it, a collection of rules and anecdotes, not a novel, and the main concept is that there are plenty of clear signs that show when a man is just not that into a woman. But the movie is, of course, designed for women, and apparently women can't deal with unhappy endings. That's fine, because even if one man isn't that into a woman, another man may be. Still, the movie seems to break some of the book's rules, establishing that there are no clear cut rules in the romantic world. Huh? I'm confused.
More importantly than that, the final act of the film feels a lot like a regular romantic comedy. You pretty much know how things are going to end, and there's a lot of fluff and bow-tying as the filmmakers attempt to wrap things up in a pleasant way. Again, this is fine as I've seen much worse, but there's nothing at all original here, no matter how hard Kwapis wants you to believe it.
He's Just Not That Into You is entertaining enough and certainly isn't the disaster I expected it to be, but the movie had a chance to be different and fails miserably in that regards. If you don't mind unoriginality in your romantic comedies - as I imagine is the case with most of you - then by all means give it a try. But if you want to see something truly original, well done and more realistic, go watch (500) Days of Summer.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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