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Notes on: He’s Just Not That Into You
Reviewed by Simon Sweetman
He’s Just Not That Into You comes from a self-improvement book heralded by Oprah Winfrey – all you need to know about this movie. Ginnifer Goodwin (TV’s Big Love) plays the excruciating character of Gigi; she can’t seem to hang on to a man. She goes on dates, gets numbers – gives her number out – and then doesn’t hear anything. This could be because she sends out the wrong signals. It could also be because she is a total psycho – leaving messages that out-cringe that scene in Swingers where Jon Favreau’s character “breaks up” with a woman he just met over the phone due to increasingly manic messages he leaves in the space of about five minutes.
Gigi works with Janine (Jennifer Connolly, looking like she is Demi Moore’s brother) and Beth (Jennifer Aniston, presumably she just thought this was a documentary?). Janine’s husband starts having an affair with Anna (Scarlett Johansson); he met her late at night buying a bottle of water and bananas (as you do) in a convenience store. Oh, and Anna has an on/off thing with Conor (Kevin Connolly from TV’s Entourage) who, if you are still following, is the latest to not call back Gigi.
Gigi speaks with Alex (Justin Long) who is the bar manager and, naturally, Connor’s flatmate. She pours her heart out and all but admits to being a psycho-stalker and Alex, painted as a misogynist and a womanizer, takes a shine to Gigi’s vulnerability. He starts giving her honest advice. And, in one of roughly 1000 leaps in logic, Gigi goes from calling him at the bar to texting and calling his cell because all of a sudden these two are mates. Right?
By this point I was pretending to be asleep. And wishing I actually was.
Beth’s problem is that she wants to get married to her beau, Neil (Ben Affleck) and he does not want that at all. She does the only logical thing – she kicks him to the curb. He is in fact very much into her, he is just not that into marriage. Neil is the one character that comes close to being vaguely likeable – and vaguely realistic.
Drew Barrymore plays the executive producer of the film which also means she gets a five-minute role as Mary, a newspaper editor who is mates with Scarlett Johansson’s character.
It all starts to feel like a director of several episodes of Friends saw one Robert Altman film and got the wrong idea. (Actually, Kew Kwapis also directed The Sisterhood Of The Travelling Pants, so that about answers it…)
The women are revolting in this movie. And the men are not really given a chance. Bradley Cooper plays Ben (the husband of Connolly’s character who is cheating on her with Anna) and is given the cliché evil-character flaw of smoking.
The most annoying part about this film was attending a screening that was close to full and hearing waves of laughter. I genuinely could not understand why people were laughing and could only figure that the same people buy tickets to Coldplay concerts, read The Secret for insight into the world and watch re-runs of Friends before dinner each night.
It’s a long movie too – running in over two hours – and made to feel longer for the fact that it treats its characters and its audience like electro-shock patients.
The only reason I am writing anything at all about this film, apart from to warn anyone not to make the mistake of buying a ticket, is to boast that I survived. I can only assume this film will, during its theatrical run, claim some casualties.
Also, one final point, Scarlett Johansson is getting worse at acting in every film she is in. It is like when certain parts of her started developing, there were other parts that stopped. There was this weird crossover period – also known as the movie Ghost World – where Scarlett was in her prime.
Okay, two final points, but this one is related to the one above: what does it say when Scarlett plays a singer and we never hear her sing in the film? In fact, as the end credits are playing out we see her singing, but she is miming and another song is playing over the visuals. It says that the film’s producers did at least hear Johansson’s crime against music – also known as the CD Anywhere I Lay My Head. It is the only thing right about this film.
Simon Sweetman’s ‘notes’ continue as a regular fixture on The Lumičre Reader throughout 2009.
» Ken Kwapis | USA | 2009 | 129 min | Featuring: Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Ben Affleck, Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Ginnifer Goodwin, Kris Kristofferson. In Theatres Now.