Last night I saw He’s Just Not That Into You (HJNTIY). First, I need to admit I’ve never read the book. Actually, I actively refused to read the book. A lot of my friends told me to read it, that it would enlighten me, that I would never look at relationships the same again, or that I basically should just give up all together, but I couldn’t do it. I hated the premise, and true or not was never in the mood to be deconstructed by a featured blip in a Sex and the City (SATC) episode.
But I figured I’d give the it a try, as I’m a sucker for chick-flicks and typically for the clichés they inevitably entail. I came out of the theater yesterday wish-washy. The film was all right for what it was, but overall I left pretty disappointed in everything except for a few of the one-liners (most of which appeared in the trailers anyhow).
The movie’s format ran like the first season of SATC where curbside commentators were inserted into the episode’s plot line. I didn’t like the effect in that season (hence why the producers of SATC stopped this method of filming) and I thought it was unimpressive here (the only movie where it worked was When Harry Met Sally). I also wasn’t a fan of the fade-outs to a black screen where a tagline popped up like, if she’s not sleeping with you… or if he’s not calling you… Frankly, it wasn’t needed; I just wanted to hear the characters’ stories.
With that said, the characters weren’t that great or perhaps it was the acting. Jennifer Aniston and Ben Affleck were the only likeable pair. Drew Barrymore was just a cameo (with which I was okay) and her best line was spoiled in the trailers. Over-the-top Ginnifer Goodwin (Gigi) sounded nauseatingly desperate, clingy, clueless, and at-times ridiculous. Yes, I understand she’s a girl who wants a guy and can’t comprehend why every guy she meets never wants to go out with her again. And yes, I get that the point of her whole diatribe is so that she can meet Alex (Justin Long) who will give her profound insight into the inner-workings of the average male’s mind. But really…my willing suspension of disbelief just does not stretch as far as the development of their relationship. Scarlett Johansson remained the random, sullen co-star much like she played in The Other Boleyn Girl (where she was the MAIN character and yet she NEVER spoke, not to mention the fact that she happens to be an American playing British royalty- Americans playing Brits is a huge pet peeve of mine; they suck at doing it). And while I realize her character in HJNTIY is “the other woman” and not a reflection on her as a real person, it is NOT okay under any circumstance to screw a married man no matter how charming his smile or what he can do for your career.
What’s probably most frustrating about this movie is that it never makes a cohesive point and there’s really no reason it shouldn’t. The connections of the main cast are flimsy at best; Ginnfer Goodwin meets Justin Long while stalking his friend Kevin Connolly (Conor). The story just doesn’t back up the title and it was a title that couldn’t be more straightforward (unlike Doubt or The Reader, titles both open to interpretation before even glancing at a synopsis). It doesn’t get much blunter than He’s Just Not That Into You. Yet, somehow after 2 hours and 9 minutes, I managed to leave the movie feeling oddly hopeful, like he may not be into me now, but he will be if I just do this, whatever this may be. Isn’t that exactly what I’m not supposed to think? Or is the movie being ironic? See, confusion.
And yes…the movie was too long! Perhaps had there been more pithy dialogue, it would have garnered better focus, but as such, people started whispering, digging through their candy boxes, slurping the last of their sodas. And while I enjoyed a few laugh-out-loud lines like:
- “If treats you like he doesn’t give a shit, it’s because he doesn’t give a shit.”
- “We are all programmed to believe that if a guy acts like a total jerk that means he likes you.”
- “I had this guy leave me a voice mail at work, so I called him at home, and then he emailed me to my BlackBerry, and so I texted to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.”
I would have been just as content not spending $11, and instead watching one of the trailer clips for HJNTIY, like the one filmed by the three male protagonists. Their spoof on 10 Cliches Not In the Movie called out all the chick-flick stereotypes we’ve come to know and love. Unfortuanately this meant producers had to come up with some new ones, and in this case, they fell flat, but at least these guys made me laugh.