New Line // 2009 // 129 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // June 4th, 2009
"I had this guy leave me a voicemail at work, so I called him at home, and then he emailed me to my BlackBerry, and so I texted to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It's exhausting." -- Mary
I'm not sure if He's Just Not That Into You is supposed to comfort women or disturb men, but I suppose it easily falls in to the "chick flick" genre so we have our simple answer. Not many guys are going to be up for over two hours of women pondering endlessly the question of who likes them enough to validate a pursuit. Based on a self-help book, the film careens through a ton of subplots to show us how modern love works in this brave new world of Internet social networking, texts, and voice mail.
Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!) clings to the belief that men who treat her like crap secretly really like her. After a bad run-in with a real estate agent (Kevin Connolly, The Notebook) she seeks advice from a friendly bartender (Justin Long, the Mac in the "I'm a Mac!" commercials). He begins to coach her on how to read a guy, and fills her in that men truly have no hidden agendas. If only this bartender had gotten to the characters played by Scarlett Johansson (The Nanny Diaries), Jennifer Aniston (Along Came Polly), Drew Barrymore (50 First Dates), Jennifer Connelly (Inventing the Abbotts), Bradley Cooper (Failure to Launch), and Ben Affleck (Gigli) before they got into romantic messes this film could have been much shorter. But given some common sense, our characters would have little to do and less to talk about.
If you go back and watch the 2003 Sex and the City episode "Pick-A-Little, Talk-A-Little" you will see a scene where Carrie's boyfriend tells Miranda "He's just not that into you." Yep, that was the sole inspiration for a self-help book penned for women to let them know that guys rarely do anything with a hidden meaning. If they don't call you, don't come in after a date, etc., then a guy is just not all that interested in pursuing you. That was the essence of the book, and becomes the premise for the film.
The movie version is a mess of great actors and actresses going through mini scenes or skits that illuminate the all-too-obvious points of the written version. Everybody prattles on and on, analyzing their relationships, and then they turn around and analyze everybody else's relationship. It's like dating porn for single women seeking answers about men and their habits. You can tell it is aimed at ladies who date, since the one married couple shown are completely miserable. The dialogue is smart enough to keep the film afloat, but there's not much that happens that is not predictable. When the film works it's because these are great actors working their way through a script that has nice dialogue. All the actresses do better work than their thinly drawn characters deserve, and most manage to offer up impressive moments despite any clichés. Drew Barrymore gets the biggest laugh and the best monologue. Could her producing credit have anything to do with it? Jennifer Connolly and Jennifer Aniston both do what they do extremely well which includes looking good while delivering serious pathos. Ginnifer Goodwin makes us believe in her naïve lead role, and Scarlett Johansson almost makes us approve of adulterers who can sing.
My biggest beef with this film is that it simply negates everything it preaches for two hours. It tries to tell you women do not need men to be complete, and that rules are pretty much true in affairs of the heart. Yet by the end of this flick every single lady pines to be in a relationship, and everybody ends up in a happy or at least tidy ending. They have all become the fantasies and myths the book and first half of the film try so hard to dispel. It's kind of nuts, when you think about it. The movie goes against the advice of the source material, but that's the power of Hollywood fantasy. Despite the chance to teach people a life lesson, there's no way they're going to leave these big screen sex symbols alone and unhappy.
The DVD from New Line is a flipper model which contains both the widescreen and fullscreen versions of the film. The transfers are solid enough with clear color and no digital noise or artifacts. Sound is a rather standard surround with dialogue front and center and atmospherics there to set the scene now and then. There is a handful of deleted scenes, and they have included the option to hear director Ken Kwapis (The Office) explain why the sequences were cut. He talks intelligently about the cuts, so I was disappointed there was no commentary on the feature. The disc feels adequate, but there's no supplemental meat in this package.
He's Just Not That Into You is as overstuffed and overlong as Sex And The City: The Movie, and that's probably the point. I enjoyed the great cast and recognized many of the all-too-familiar dating dilemmas. I appreciated the candid dialogue, but I was disappointed by the neat endings that felt trite and not true to life. I can only forgive it because we get to see Scarlett, Drew, and the Jennifers do a light fluffy romantic comedy that breezes by easily. The DVD doesn't offer much more than a film that states the obvious and then refuses to offer faith in common sense.
Guilty of talking way too much to get to the point, He's Just Not That
Into You is a preachy chick flick that sabotages its own message.
Review content copyright © 2009 Brett Cullum; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: New Line
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 129 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* Deleted Scenes
* Official Site