Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Non-Review: He's Just Not That Into You (2009)
Director: Ken Kwapis
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Ginnifer Goodwin, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Connelly
Before getting started, I just want to make two things clear. First, I only watched this movie because it was on TV, there was nothing else on, and I was making dinner anyway so it was more background noise than anything else. Second, this will just be a few observations rather than a proper review because a) the plot and characters are so thin, and b) I find it hard to take a movie seriously when it rejects the very premise on which it is built, rendering each and every plot development moot.
* He's Just Not That Into You does not have "characters" so much as it has "types." There's the woman who always reads more into things than actually exist, the woman who can only relate to gay men, the woman in a long-term relationship who wants a bigger commitment, the woman struggling to keep her marriage together, and the woman whose relationships are shaped by her love of drama. These women are played by Ginnifer Goodwin, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, and Scarlett Johansson. Their love interests are played by Justin Long, Kevin Connolly, Ben Affleck, and Bradley Cooper. All the female characters are essentially the same with the exception of Johansson's and all the male characters are essentially the same with the exception of Connolly (whose character is a male version of the female characters) and Cooper. The things that make Johansson and Cooper's characters different from their counterparts is that they have an extra edge of assholishness that helps them stand out.
* The story is cut up into vignettes, each designed to focus on an example of how a guy would show that he isn't interested. Most of the stories are propelled forward by the idea that in certain situations, women need to just cut their losses and move on because if a guy isn't interested, your persistence won't magically change him. However, since the modern romantic comedy is rooted in the idea that declared bachelors are just waiting for the right spunky heroine to meet cute with in order to abandon their aversion to commitment, it's frankly inevitable that He's Just Not That Into You will end by undercutting the message it's spent about 80% of its running time trying to ingrain into your head. The woman whose boyfriend won't marry her? Gets married. The guy who spends pretty much the entire movie repeating the same couple of lines about how "you won't change him," "he's not interested," etc. changes his mind and becomes interested (at which point that woman dumps a guy who is interested and wasn't playing mind games with her - the amount of cognative dissonance between the end of this film and the rest of it is staggering).
* Drew Barrymore's character laments about the wide variety of technology through which one can be rejected in the 21st century. The forum her character references most frequently is MySpace - do people still use MySpace???
* This is, quite possibly, the whiniest movie I've ever seen. At a certain point, shouldn't you ask yourself: am I whiny because I'm single, or am I single because I'm so whiny?
* According to Amazon, the self-help book this movie is based on is 208 pages and required two writers. I cannot even fathom how either of those facts could be possible.
Posted by Norma Desmond at 8:00 AM