Monday, February 9, 2009

Review: "He's Just Not That Into You"

How do you make a romantic comedy based on a self-help book for women?


"He's Just Not That Into You" is a mildly amusing flick starring Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymoore, Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Connelly and Scarlett Johansson as a loosely-connected web of put-upon women, and Ben Affleck, Kevin Connolly, Justin Long and Bradley Cooper as the men who done them wrong.

If you think I didn't like this movie because of gender war issues, you couldn't be further from the truth. My main beef with the movie was that it tried too hard to portray the men sympathetically, and even ended up with a couple of the guys as the ones getting mistreated by the lovely ladies.

You see, in this terrible modern age, men have been treating women really shabbily, and now some of the women are getting into the act. The story is a long litany of gals waiting for phone calls that never come, and awkward messages being left on voice mail. You've got Men Who Are Afraid of Marriage, and women who don't want to commit.

Its saving grace is Ginnifer Goodwin as the narrator and more or less main character of this ensemble movie. I love her slightly goofy vibe, the way she never gives up on romance even when her exploits leave her mistreated and unloved. I remember first seeing Goodwin in a supporting role a few years ago, and immediately wished someone would give her her own movie. "He's Just Not That Into You" is not it.

A few program notes: Having being married for 10 months now, I confess that I approached this movie with a certain smug satisfaction in not having to deal with most of the issues contained in the movie. After watching a romcom with people behaving badly in the name of love, I often turn to my wife and say, "Aren't you glad we don't have to deal with that stuff anymore?"

Also, I should mentioned that I did read the popular book on which this movie was based. Or at least, I read about half of it before I gave up. I found it to be a bunch of silly (and, I suspect, fabricated) anecdotes about women too stupid to realize that the man they're seeing isn't about to commit to them.

We saw the movie at a sold-out show at AMC Castleton on Saturday night -- sorry about the late review turnaround, but our Sunday was filled with chores -- and the audience seemed split evenly between couples and large packs of (apparently) single women. Even though I wasn't particularly impressed with this flick, my heart leaped at the sight of dozens of people standing around outside a movie theater, discussing what they'd just seen.

I didn't see any guys by themselves. It's their loss -- this movie is a great dating opportunity!

Two stars out of four.

1 comment:

  1. I had higher expectations for the movie. It wasn't great, but I still thought it was entertaining. As for the book, I thought it was quite clever. Sure some of the instances may sound contrived (and exaggerated for some humor) but I think they are just situations people don't like to admit--like the year I had a lunch date for Valentines Day because the guy I was seeing was "too busy" to go out that evening. Sounds stupid, but there are times when a person wants to believe and gets burned by expecting honesty. I suspect everyone has some story to tell and that's why the conversations were buzzing after the movie.