The book on which He's Just Not That Into You is based is full of mostly common sense advice for women about guys and relationships. If he's not calling you back, say, he's just not that into you. It's cool, just move on. These are not revolutionary theories. The movie tries to illustrate many of the more common relationship mistakes and misunderstandings in a series of "chapters."
The thing is, for a movie about facing the harsh truth about things, it's painfully unaware of the truth about itself. If they're going to preach to us about when our thick skulls should just accept these relationship "rules" (because you're never the exception to the rule, just FYI) then I think we can point out some "rules" that maybe a movie like this should follow. To see some that I'd suggest, read more.
It's just not that great a movie if. . .
. . . it's a romantic comedy that runs (and feels) over two long hours. Plain and simple (ahem, common sense), this film is just way too long.
. . . there is an absurd number of storylines going on, seemingly for the sole purpose of utilizing more high-profile actors. I like the first section of the film because we're following the quirky, delusional and desperate Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) who is funny to watch because she is an outrageous caricature. Far from a relatable protagonist she's like an exaggerated version of every man's nightmare. She's silly and obsessive and most of her actions and assumptions about guys make the audience groan and chuckle because who does that? But then come allllllllll the other characters. There's the sexless married couple in which the man (Bradley Cooper) is tempted to cheat with the buxom Anna (Scarlett Johansson), and there's the guy (Kevin Connolly) who's blindly pining over Anna, and there's the woman (Drew Barrymore) who is exhausted by how technology has complicated dating, and finally, there's the one relatively healthy couple in which the man (Ben Affleck) is fully committed to her (Jennifer Aniston) but just doesn't want to get married. And that is unacceptable. These storylines range from amusing to obnoxious but by the end (of the — did I mention? — over two hours) they are all completely exasperating. In fact. . .
. . . by the end of it we've gone from laughing with the characters to laughing at them. Yeah. This happened at my screening.
. . . it's sloppy. At first we're following one character through her funny/ridiculous relationship woes. That's fine. Then we're following a bunch of other characters. Then Drew Barrymore's character is tossed in as an afterthought. Then, a good chunk of the way into the thing, they try to establish "chapters" by which point we're confused about why there are suddenly chapters. There are also, out of nowhere (and not having established this for forever), confessionals from random strangers talking straight to camera about their love lives. What? Where did they come from? Why?
. . . there seems to be no point. It's too long and empty to be entertaining or enjoyable, it's overcrowded with storylines, and it's definitely not saying anything interesting about modern-day relationships (it's not even modern! "MySpace is the new booty call"? Does anyone actually think that?). Finally, it's not exactly hopeful or inspiring or touching.
All in all, there are some funny moments and some pretty people, but is it worth two hours and some hard-earned cash? I don't know. I think it's just not that great.
Photos courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures