Based on a self-help book of the same name, and apparently further inspired by a line from Sex and the City (which I am mercifully not forced to watch), He’s Just Not That Into You is a typical chick flick/rom-com, masquerading as a tell-all exposé on the inner-workings of what guys are really thinking, which in reality plays out a lot more like just another chick flick/rom-com written by a woman that thinks she knows what guys are really thinking (technically, the original book was co-written by a man and a woman, and at least one of the screenwriters was a man, so who knows? I’m just calling it like I see it).
The movie features what is referred to in the business as an “ensemble cast,” which means there are a lot of medium-name actors that you have probably heard of before but are not necessarily your favorites that probably got paid way too much money to be in this movie and give it hype and box office appeal (have you ever noticed how having two or three big-name actors in a movie usually makes for a good movie, but having twenty-five big to medium name actors in a movie probably means the movie/acting is going to suck? (Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve anyone?)).
I didn’t hate the cast, mind you. I’ve always thought Jennifer Connelly is exceptionally pretty. And Bradley Cooper makes a steamy (if slimy) bad boy. But the obnoxiously named Ginnifer Goodwin is far more naggy/clueless than she is cute, so that whole portion of the story line falls flat for me. I mean, how dim can you be? I’m not a huge, huge Scar Jo enthusiast either, but she plays a compelling role in this one. Jennifer Aniston leaves me lukewarm at best. But the casting was not what I liked least about the movie.
There is a huge amount of overlap in the who’s-dating-who component of the storyline. Too many for a triangle, but probably more like a love hexagon. You have to suspend reality a little bit here, but also not the worst part of the film.
What may be my least favorite part is the advice. It’s just so…obvious. If a guy wants to see you again, he will call you. If he doesn’t call, he doesn’t want to see you again. He didn’t lose your number. He’s not out of town. He’s not too nervous. He’s just not (wait for it) that into you. Duh!
What works for me in the film is the idea that a lot of times people are at different places in the same relationship. Where the title is “he’s just not that into you,” it could have just as well been “she’s just not that into you” or “he just doesn’t love you anymore” or “he didn’t realize he loved you until you were gone” or “he’ll give you what you want if you make him but he may resent you for it later.”
I also like the main Jennifer Connely/Bradley Cooper story. It’s a little bit uncomfortable at times. You feel for her, but she gets a little bit clingy/nuts. You almost feel for him. Men are pigs, and blah, blah, blah, but this part of the story had depth for me, and I did like it.
What makes it a definite chick flick in the end is that all the stories come full circle in a pro-female way: the ladies man gets tamed, the non-committal nice guy comes around, the too-nice-for-his-own-good guy finds a sweet girl that will appreciate him, and the dirty dog gets caught. Not that there is anything wrong with any of this. There were funny moments. There were relateable moments. Some feeling, but very few surprises. I’ve seen worse. As these go, one thumb mostly up, the other thumb off to the side like “eh.”