Women are pathetic — at least, that’s the message being preached by a recent rash of horribly misguided motion pictures. In Sex and the City, they’re depicted as materialistic sluts who use their fading feminine wiles to weasel all manner of money-based goodies out of their gullible meat puppets. In Mamma Mia!, we experience fading beauty bedeviled by off-key singing and gloppy green-screen romanticism. But both of those films are feminist manifestos when compared to the gender equity awfulness of He’s Just Not That Into You. Any film ‘loosely’ based on a baffling self-help tome is already asking for trouble, but once gyno-nation gets a whiff of this effort’s ‘ladies are losers’ lament, the fashionable gloves are bound to come off.
Our story centers around Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin), a copywriter for a spices catalog. Unlucky in love, she seeks advice from her equally ineffectual coworkers Janine (Jennifer Connelly) and Beth (Jennifer Aniston). The former is in a sexless marriage with her music industry rep hubby Ben (Bradley Cooper) who happens to be bedding a wannabe singer named Anna (Scarlett Johansson). The latter can’t get her live-in partner of seven years, Neil (Ben Affleck), to commit to some form of nuptials. While Janine and Beth pursue their own guidance from gal pal ad editor Mary (Drew Barrymore), Gigi develops a platonic bond with wise guy bar manager Alex (Justin Long). He’s a fount of information on how guys treat girls, and with his help, our heroine hopes to find Mr. Right… or at the very least, avoid Mr. Right Now.
He’s Just Not That Into You is over two hours of people talking — endlessly talking. There’s no action, no musical montages, or tangential moments of physical shtick. Just 130 minutes of voices whining about love, relationships, and the lack thereof. If complaining were therapy, everyone in the cast would be Scientology Clear. Sadly, every conversation, every attempt at interpersonal insight, is buffered by the inherent unbelievability of the emotions being offered. This is a film where thirtysomethings act like adolescents, where man/woman interaction is illustrated in seventh grade compatibility test responses. Sure, a little dab of truth occasionally comes spitting out of these well-coiffed and decaffeinated mouths, but we have to wait so long for the genuineness that the fiction becomes all the more obvious.
This is a story where we barely care for anyone. In fact, one character in particular — the flighty ditz of a flibbertigibbet main character — grates on our nerves like polished nails on a cinematic chalkboard. Goodwin’s Gigi has a stalker-like sensibility, matched with an inhuman level of naiveté, that causes her every action to resonate like tinfoil on one’s fillings. She even makes the morose, self-absorbed angst of Connelly’s Janine and Aniston’s Beth seem semi-tolerable. Director Ken Kwapis, responsible for such swill as the lame License to Wed (as well as various TV sitcoms) stages everything with a kind of flat finality. We don’t really see the storylines progress so much as merely turn the page to the next episode of idiocy.
In fact, it’s the underlying sentiment that ultimately derails He’s Just Not That Into You. Every single female character is portrayed as stupid, illogical, borderline psychotic, and desperate for a man to complete her sense of self. Even worse, every problem is resolved in favor of supporting such a disconnect with human reality. Unless you’ve spent your entire adult life in isolation, or literally think that men are from Mars, this movie will blindside your intelligence. People, especially those of the female persuasion, are definitely smarter than the way they are portrayed here. Life novices may feel some kinship with these characters. Actual adults will just be insulted.
The DVD includes deleted scenes.
He’s just not in the pool.