Movie Review: He's Just Not That Into You
By Matthew Huntley
February 13, 2009
The movie talks about dating and relationships a lot, but it doesn't go beyond the basics. Alex is the quintessential realist and provides Gigi the lowdown on why Conor is never going to call her back. He tells her, bluntly, "he's just not that into you." Gigi quickly learns the signs of when a man does like her and turns the tables on Alex, who believes he's got it all figured out.
The most interesting plot threads in the movie exist between Janine, Ben and Anna, and Neil and Beth. These characters are dealt the most interesting problems, and give us the most to think about, especially on the subjects of loyalty and commitment. I wish the whole movie had been about them since they provide us the best chance to ponder something new.
Still, with that said, I did enjoy watching He's Just Not That Into You. It's smart and practical with its observations, despite not being original or very deep. It also contains some strong performances, especially from the two Jennifers. Ms. Connelly shares a scene with Bradley Cooper in Home Depot that's very well-acted. Notice the way she looks at him just before walking away and pushing her cart. It's heartbreaking and her eyes connote a sense of fear and loss. Ben, though a sleaze he may be, is put in a difficult position - does he go against his feelings for Anna (who could be the real love of his life) or remain loyal to his wife? The movie doesn't necessarily see his struggle as black or white and allows us to empathize with him.
As for Jennifer Aniston, I'm consistently impressed by the way she goes against her glitzy Hollywood image and chooses roles that make her appear organic and down-to-earth. She's not only a good actress but also one of the most likable and unafraid to be humiliated. The next step is for her to play a role completely against type. I believe she has the range.
For a romantic comedy, which fails to surprise us most of the time anyway, He's Just Not That Into You is a good conversation starter and gives viewers a chance to gather around and discuss who in the movie is right and what they think the characters should have done. But I doubt anyone will look at these characters and see them as fully developed people to whom they can make a serious connection. There's just not enough screen time to go around, and their dialogue isn't all that fresh or penetrating. I recommend the movie for its good-looking cast and ultimately hopeful outlook, but on the subject of relationships, this is a movie that should have said more.