Film review: He’s Just Not That Into You (2009), directed by Ken Kwapis
Take a bunch of people. Add romance and bits of comedy. Put in a blender. This is what comes out.
He’s Just Not That Into You is a romantic comedy about four couples whose lives are strangely interlinked, in one convenient way or another. To begin with, we have the bubbly Gigi (adorkable Ginnifer Goodwin), whose approach to dating is clingy, stalkery and neurotic. She goes on a date with Conor (Kevin Connolly) and obsesses about him not phoning back. Perhaps she missed his call?
When she decides to go to a bar Conor usually frequents, just to “happen” to bump into him, he’s not there. Instead, the bar manager Alex (Justin Long) is there, and he offers her some dating advice. As it turns out, Alex is very good at this, and Gigi keeps coming back to him asking what guys actually mean, because a guy might say one thing, but mean something completely different.
Conor, on the other hand, is lusting after the beautiful Anna (Scarlett Johansson). Anna treats him more like a pet, and instead, bumps into this gorgeous hunk at the grocery store – Ben (Bradley Cooper). They flirt. They meet again and flirt some more. Problem is, he’s married. To Janine (Jennifer Connelly), who is obsessing over people smoking because her dad died of lung cancer. (So did my grandmother, but I’m not having tantrums about workmen having a fag break outside the house.)
Then there’s Beth (Jennifer Aniston) and Neil (Ben Affleck), who live together and have done so for many years now, and Neil just isn’t willing to get married because he doesn’t believe in a piece of paper and surely all that really matters is that they love each other. Beth doesn’t see things quite the same, especially not when one of her sisters are getting married. Quick shout-out to Sasha Alexander (Caitlin Todd in NCIS), who is another one of the sisters, and country legend Kris Kristofferson for playing their dad.
Last but not least, there’s Mary (Drew Barrymore), who works for a magazine and prefers online dating. And yes, one person knows someone else who knows someone else and so they’re all interlinked somehow.
I expected this to be a fairly average romcom, and it is. There were a few good laughs, and I surprised myself by welling up at the end, during one particular scene which shall remain undisclosed. Most of the film, however, I kept wondering why those people were together, because there were few to genuinely like. Gigi was sweet, but a complete nutcase. Janine was also completely bonkers, although at least she had reasons to be suspicious of her husband. And so on.
Beth being accosted by a mouthy Wiccan at a wedding reception felt a little weird (when can Hollywood give an accurate description of a Pagan? One that isn’t a) out to kill people or b) a goddamn treehuggin’ hippie?), but he could just as well have been talking about sports or Star Trek or what have you.
While some of the resolutions in the end were predictable, others were perhaps less so, but in a good way. Some people might struggle with trying to keep up with the big ensemble cast and who’s who, but if a big cast doesn’t tend to confuse you, you should be okay with this one.
As a film, He’s Just Not That Into You might be a bit on the sentimental side, but then, it’s a romcom – what else is new? Actually, I found it rather enjoyable. The film just makes you feel kinda good, somehow, even if the characters on screen tend to act like a bunch of muppets.
3.5 out of 5 promotional pens.