Published Feb 05, 2009Moving past the fact that all of the characters are superficial morons whose personal revelations are little more than fortune cookie catchphrases that degrade human complexity and revel in stereotype, which is unfortunately the plight of our zeitgeist, He's Just Not That Into You proves to be a pleasant, engaging and even mildly humorous look at human behaviour. Much of this stems from the film never trying to be more than it is, delivering clever, if episodic, situations that click as relatively identifiable, especially given the amiable nature of the talent involved.
Where most ensemble dramas creak under the pressures of their collective goals and overall messages, He's Just Not That Into You finds an agreeable equilibrium, taking storylines that wouldn't sustain a narrative on their own, and spreading them into a flaky, women's magazine portrait of culture that's aware of technology and gender roles, and takes advantage of them.
Based on the hit airplane book of the same name, the film focuses on Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin), Beth (Jennifer Aniston) and Janine (Jennifer Connelly), three co-workers coping with various interpretations of male behaviours.
Gigi is the most neurotic of the bunch, assuming that every word, eye movement and hand gesture from platonic friend Alex (Justin Long) is a way of showing her how he "really" feels, despite Alex's assertion that men are far more straightforward than Gigi believes. Meanwhile, Beth struggles in her long-term relationship with Neil (Ben Affleck), who just won't pop the question. Lastly, Janine tries to keep her marriage to Ben (Bradley Cooper) alive, despite his boning wannabe singer Anna (Scarlett Johansson).
Even if the film reduces relationships down to the observation that men prefer the chase while women obsess over security and nesting, it does so with a sunny, and mildly cynical, disposition that the target demo should lap up. (Alliance)