He’s Just Not That Into You (2009)
He’s Just Not That Into You (2009)

Genre: Romantic Drama Running Time: 2 hrs. 9 min.

Release Date: February 6th, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Ken Kwapis Actors: Jennifer Aniston, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Connolly, Bradley Cooper, Justin Long, Ginnifer Goodwin, Drew Barrymore, Ben Affleck

 


 

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s it the feel-bad movie of the year? Although it’s disguised as a Valentine’s Day chick flick, and the advertising tries to convince guys that it isn’t filled exclusively with mushy stuff, it’s certainly not fun-loving. Exposing, analyzing, and patronizing complex relationships, “He’s Just Not That Into You” is a startlingly relatable film that alternates between reasonably entertaining and “drudging up bad memories.” It’s more sophisticated than one might think, and the humor, which is fairly consistent, doesn’t resort to raunchiness. The dating crowd will want to take note, however, that this isn’t the type of movie to watch with a significant other, as both members will probably leave feeling guilty, paranoid, overly inquisitive, or all of the above.

The film follows several relationships, each one originally independent of the other, until they all seem to collide at the conclusion. Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) assumes the stereotype of the pathetic, desperate girl, who obsessively waits for her many dates to call her back. She resorts to begging, stalking, and other degrading acts to win the attentions of multiple guys, each one shrugging her off. Alex (Justin Long), a friendly and experienced bar manager, steps in to give Gigi a few pointers on her depressing failure with the opposite sex. Relying too heavily on his advice and playful concern, she starts to think Alex is interested in her, leading to even more angst. Their story is the most interesting, featuring Alex’s often eye-opening advice and the humor in Gigi’s failings.

Ben (Bradley Cooper) was rushed into marriage with his wife Janine (Jennifer Connelly), and resultantly falls for the sensual flirtations of Anna (Scarlett Johansson). After a quick seduction, Ben realizes he’s destroying the relationship with his wife – but Anna is fixed on the idea that Ben could be her true love. Meanwhile, Conor (Kevin Connolly) is wondering why Anna, who is his current girlfriend, won’t sleep with him. This section of the film is the most serious, with tragic and emotional twists at every turn.

Neil (Ben Affleck) and Beth (Jennifer Aniston) have been happily in love for seven years, but when her younger sister announces wedding plans, Beth begins to question why she has yet to receive a similar proposal. Neil doesn’t believe in marriage, but Beth feels it’s a necessity. These conflicting convictions lead to doubt, heartbreak, and the most unlikely segment of the film.

There are an additional few love stories thrown in, each involving several of the characters from the major three plot lines. Perhaps the most inspiring piece of “He’s Just Not That Into You” is the storytelling approach, which carefully intertwines almost every single character – by the end of the film, it’s really just one complex story. The problem arises from the fact that a series of serious relationships, which are falling apart, getting glued back together, or never acquiring a chance to develop, is frequently not varied enough to keep audiences amused.

The large and recognizable cast is delightful to see, introducing a new familiar face every ten minutes. And the humor is universal and doesn’t resort to cheap yucks. The film puts on display every single stereotype, mold, rule, exception, and dilemma of relationships; some are predictable while others are surprising, but the whole spectrum is present. Told chiefly from a woman’s perspective (guys are terrible and dishonest most of the time, although at certain points the men get their more unbiased viewpoint portrayed) “He’s Just Not That Into You” is likely to rub a great many people the wrong way. It’s not a date movie by any means, but it’s also not as unintelligent as it appears.

– Mike Massie

  • 5/10