He's Just Not That Into You (Movie Review)

Note: Yeah, nothing really excuses me from this...

Vero Hunc In Vobis Non Est

The back wall of theatre 14 at the Kennedy Commons AMC Theatres is very poorly soundproofed, and since the movie I was watching was incredibly boring, the pleasant aural carnage from the adjacent theatre showing Taken offered a measure of comfort from the mind-numbing dross of He's Just Not That Into You. Because I know what you're all thinking, I'll just address your question right off the bat so we can move on with the review: I've seen every bloody worthwhile movie that's come out in the last little while. It boiled down to either this, or Paul Blart: Mall Cop, and I'm willing to accept that I probably made the wrong decision.

It's almost Valentine's Day, which obviously means that every store front is decked out in shades of red and pink, and Hollywood has to vomit a slurry of romantic comedies into my critical lap while I hold her hair back in the hopes of being rewarded for my kindness with decent summer blockbusters in a few months time. I understand the need for romantic comedies since they more or less operate as a means by which a person can break out a bottle of Vodka, edible underwear, and furry handcuffs with their significant other. I just wish there was a way for Hollywood to help couples score without taunting the socially gauche for their lack of action. I don't feel too bad though, since no one in He's Just Not That Into You seems to be getting any ass either. It's a minor consolation the astute loner can take refuge in.

He's Just Not The Into You is a story of nine American adults, all white and spunky, who have nothing better to do than date and dwell on the effects of modern technology on fairytale romance. All nine are either previously connected or introduced to each other, and they all impact each other's love life in some way:

  • Jennifer Aniston, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Jennifer Connelly are all coworkers.
  • Ben Affleck and Jennifer Aniston have been living together for seven years, but are not married.
  • Jennifer Connelly and Bradley Cooper are trapped in a sexless marriage.
  • Ginnifer Goodwin is a neurotic wreck when it comes to dating, who gets pointers from Justin Long.
  • Bradley Cooper and Ben Affleck are friends.
  • Kevin Connolly and Justin Long are friends.
  • Kevin Connolly and Scarlett Johansson are a rather indecisive couple.
  • Bradley Cooper cheats on Jennifer Connelly with Scarlett Johansson.
  • Scarlett Johansson and Drew Barrymore are friends.
  • Drew Barrymore has a thing for Kevin Connolly.
  • Sure it's not very professional to summarize a plot through bullet points, but this is the most effective way for a person to come to grips with the proceedings (I recommend printing the above out an using it as a reference guide should you end up watching the movie). You'll also notice I used the actor's names and not character names in the outline. This is because there are countless scattershot references to characters we're never introduced to, so I honestly have no idea what the names of half the players are.

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    Though I was genuinely pleased to see Scarlett Johansson take off her clothes a few times (PG as it was).

    For a film marketed as a "Romantic Comedy", I can't help but feel impressed by how deftly it fails at living up to either expectation. Apatow and Co. twisted genre conventions when The 40 Year Old Virgin offered more comedy than romance in 2005, and indeed the market has shifted to favour a greater emphasis on a good laugh. This is largely because producers could reliably milk multiple demographics successfully, and because men won't feel cheated when the romantic film he's watching tosses him a few ample bosoms to ogle. The material in He's Just Not That Into You is strangely PG for a film that somehow merited a 14A rating. There's no nudity, no risqué sex scenes, and only a few four letter words brandied about the +120 minute running time. I'm not asking for Kevin Smith levels of vulgarity, but you could at least give the audience something to sink their teeth into.

    Considering the convoluted nature of the bullet point plot above, it shouldn't be too difficult to figure out why the romantic aspect falters: there's simply too much going on. A good romance is focused and emotionally driven. Nine characters each given equal chunks of screen time offers no room for depth or indeed any empathy at all. No one could possibly care about the lives on display seeing as how they're all just trite clichés of romantic stereotypes. Cut half the cast, scale back the run time, at least try and push the envelope, and the film might've been a guilty pleasure. Instead, He's Just Not That Into You smugly toys in pseudo philosophic glee as it considers love in the time of Facebook.

    * * * * * * *

    From my previous review of Coraline:

    Smiles:
    you watch ã lot of movies don't you?

    Yes, and this is my curse.

    well, this movie seems to ooze out chick flick from every pore, so I thankfully will not have to go to it (girlfriend hates chick flicks as much as I do). As for watching this or Paul Blart, its a toss up really, because Paul Blart was so horrendously awful, a chick flick might have been better.

    Oh, and if you haven't seen taken, but just heard it, go see that, its awesome.

    One of the perks of the single life - I can completely avoid shit like this.

    I liked your metaphor of holding a girl's hair back while she's puking - classy ;D

    King of chick flicks? Probably. No girlfriend or not a girl? Then why go?

    I agree with all the above. Only a few reasons to see this movie, you are either going with your girl or you are a girl and you are going with your friends.

    Ah, sounds like one of my guilty pleasures.

    By the way Maet, would you consider this a wannabe Love Actually?

    Even from looking at the movie posters you get a sense that this was going to be just another unimaginative chick-flick...

    Yet another unimaginative film to suckle on desperate housewives...

    The way you're describing it, it's Young People F**** without the sex.

    Note*Young people F*** is an actual movie. (And it's not a porno).

     

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