Reel Review: ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ a good time overall

A movie based on a dating advice book, based on a line from an episode of a defunct TV series, which has already been turned into a movie (and a sequel now in the works). Sounds about as complicated as, well, relationships. But, thanks to a snappy script and a few lovable stars, “He’s Just Not That Into You” makes for a pretty entertaining, albeit not entirely original, movie.

The “Sex and the City” creators have turned this one line, “He’s just not that into you,” into a successful franchise with legions of fans. Hopes for this film are high, which explains its long list of stars – both established and rising fast – including Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Connelly, Drew Barrymore, Ginnifer Goodwin, Kevin Connolly, Justin Long and Bradley Cooper. Easy on the eyes, sure, but this influx of star power can also dilute itself after awhile.

The film weaves together several different plot lines -some complex, others simply comical. But the underlying message is this: Women think too much about the signals men send (or don’t send) because they “love the drama.” And men don’t think much at all. Or, if they do, it’s usually about how they can avoid committing to a relationship.

It may sound like gender stereotyping – and sometimes it is – but for the most part, it’s delivered in a way that’s smart enough not to offend either gender. Except for Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin), the movie’s central character who fumbles her way through the dating scene, scaring men off one by one with her neurotic neediness. Sure it makes for funny moments, but her frustrating denseness far outshadows her adorableness.

Gigi turns to Alex (Justin Long), a womanizing bartender afraid of intimacy, as her dating sage full of harsh insights (if he’s not calling, he’s not into you – get it?). But Long is far more convincing as the affable “Mac guy” (the TV commercial character he is best known for) than as a romantic lead.

The movie’s more serious moments hit the emotional mark, but they are spread too thin across an already crowded movie and feel more like a tease (to take the dating thing a little further here).

Jennifer Connelly adds some intensity to the film as a wife whose husband (Bradley Cooper) is flirting with a blonde temptress/yoga instructor (Scarlett Johansson). But Jennifer Aniston leaving her marriage-phobic boyfriend Ben Affleck is given far too little time to justify the actors’ presumably large paychecks.

Think of “He’s Just Not That Into You” like a third date – overall a pretty good time, but you’re not quite ready to bring it home to meet the family.

‘He’s Just Not That Into You’
Rated: PG-13
Grade: B+
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Posted by on Feb 12, 2009. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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