He’s Just Not That Into You
So, what’s Matt Damon really like?

Theatrical Release Date: 02/06/2009
Director: Ken Kwapis
Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Connolly, Justin Long, Scarlett Johansson, Kevin Connolly, Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Drew Barrymore, Busy Phillips, Wilson Cruz, Sasha Alexander, Kris Kristofferson

So, with self-help books being the new go-to source for scriptwriters, it’s no surprise that Hollywood’s big Valentine positioned romantic comedy release, “He’s Just Not That Into You”, is based on the same named book by Greg Behrendt & Liz Tuccillo.

The book deals with dispelling many of the common misconceptions about relationships and how certain “signs” are thought to have double meanings when they really don’t. And talking about misconceptions, if you’ve seen the trailer, one not expecting Tom Foolery may believe the film revolves around actress/producer/romantic comedy veteran Drew Barrymore.

Well, she’s in the film alright … and has a number of lines … and is involved in the romantic shenanigans … However, once you get into the actual film, it’s quickly clear that the actual leading lady is Ginnifer Goodwin. That’s not a bad thing, she’s had excellent performances in Walk the Line and another rom-com, “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton”. As the most winning aspect of the film, Goodwin helps to keep the tone of the film leaning towards romantic comedy rather than succumbing to the angst, annoyance and adultery that attempts to suck the fun out of the project. Still, she doesn’t have the bankable star power of many of the other actors in the film so I’m not surprised the marketing plays her off as just one of the ensemble.

Speaking of which, the cast contains a bevy of recognizable names (they’re listed above, I’m not typing it again). They do a good job, portraying a mix of characters that cover all degrees of the moral compass. My problem lies in the over-reaching script that takes a fun premise and through an all too trite concept of having all of the characters connected in a six degrees of separation manner (actually, more like two degrees here), attempts to portray so many different relationships that it’s no surprise the film breaks the two-hour barrier (129 minute runtime); and it still fails to tie up the loose ends without trying some of my patience.

This isn’t so much due to the generic resolutions but because in order to wrap up so many stories (even in a film of this length), some of the characters end up doing a 180 on their rigid convictions in order to compromise with their respective partners. I do appreciate that not everyone gets a happy ending (there’s a joke in there somewhere) but given the transparent, numerous and jumbled plot lines, there simply isn’t room to develop the characters well enough to make their concluding actions believable.

While many of the fairer sex seemed to look past all of the faults the men in the film exhibit because they tend to manage to make good in the end, I can’t stand it when people act like jerks for 95% of the film and then one good deed at the end is enough to make it all better. Life isn’t that simple and it’s demeaning to think people are so easily swayed. Would you say I’m overly cynical? Eh.

I will say that I appreciated the “testimonials”, quick segments shot like interviews with people on the street, that mark the beginning of each chapter to the film. They were quite funny and did the best job of relating the point of the source material which is identifying the different perspectives men and women have on dating, love and marriage. The narrative portions of the film start with that premise but quickly devolve into the same tried and true mediocrity that’s often associated with the genre.

Of course, most people aren’t looking for this film to be the next “When Harry Met Sally”. If all you want are attractive people stumbling through love like a drunk wildebeest in the glasswares section, then by all means, stop by the googleplex and check this out. A 3 out of 5, I guess you could say that I’m just not that into “He’s Just Not Into You”. Still, the cast is largely likable and if all you want is a chick-flick to start off a girls night out, then I can see the point of plunking down your $625.

However, if you’ve been dealt a Y chromosome in the genetic lottery, it’s best to kiss your sweetie at the door, wish her a fun time and spend those two hours enjoying the indentation in the couch your posterior has carved out over the years. Many romantic comedies are fun for both halves of the human species … some are more like this film.