It’s been a long time since I’ve really liked a romantic comedy because it’s just so hard to get films in this genre right. It doesn’t help that there’s a pretty strict formula involved (the main characters end up living happily ever after), making the plot downright predictable most of the time.
Nevertheless, I was looking forward to seeing He’s Just Not That Into You, mostly because of the big-name stars attached to the project, including Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Connelly, and Ben Affleck. I thought that even if the script wasn’t that solid, at least these stars would save the film and make it worth watching — but I was wrong about that!
Plot summary (with possible spoilers): He’s Just Not That Into You is one of those films with a long list of characters that are all somehow connected to each other. In this case, the characters all share the misfortune to be stuck in seemingly dysfunctional relationships without having any idea of how the fix their problems.
First, we have Gigi (played by Ginnifer Goodwin), who is a total sap and always misinterprets the signals she gets from men she meets. The short version is that she believes them when they say they had a good time and will call her, and then ends up feeling crushed when they don’t. After this happens with Conor (Kevin Connolly), Gigi starts getting advice from Alex, Conor’s roommate and friend. If you can’t guess that Gigi and Alex will be together by the end of the film, then you’ve probably never seen a rom-com before.
Another couple is Ben (Bradley Cooper) and Janine (Jennifer Connelly). They’re married, but Ben starts lusting after a hot yoga instructor/wannabe singer named Anna (Scarlett Johansson) that he bumps into at a liquor store. Ben works in some capacity in the recording industry, and uses that angle to get close to Anna and start sleeping with her. Janine eventually finds out, but thinks it’s her fault for pressuring Ben to marry her when he wasn’t ready. She’s willing to forgive him and work to preserve the marriage, but Ben just can’t get over Anna.
Meanwhile, there’s Beth (Jennifer Aniston) and Neil (Ben Affleck), who have been dating for seven years. Beth thinks it’s high time they get married, but Neil doesn’t want to make that commitment. He loves Beth and wants to be with her forever, but can’t bring himself to take the next step. Beth kicks him out — only to realize later that Neil is a pretty great guy and she wants him back. He does come back, and as soon as he sees that Beth is willing to accept him without getting married, he proposes.
By the end, of the film, each character pretty much gets what they deserve based on the actions they chose to take.
My Reaction: As I said, I really wanted to like this movie because of the cast. I thought that it would at least be enjoyable, but that wasn’t the case at all. For one thing, it turned out that Ginnifer Goodwin and Justin Long were pretty much the main characters. Sorry, but they were extremely annoying and totally predictable, too. That’s certainly not what I signed up for.
Neil and Beth seemed like the most realistic couple to me, but obviously there wasn’t enough “drama” in their relationship to focus the whole movie on them. We all know people who have been together for years and years without getting married, so I could totally see this situation playing out in real life. The other couples just seemed far too much like, well, movie characters than real people.
I guess the Ben-Janine-Anna love triangle happens in real life all the time too, but the whole thing was just such a cliché that I couldn’t get into it.
Overall, I was pretty disappointed in He’s Just Not That Into You. There was nothing original about the premise, any of the situations that the characters got themselves into, or any of the “insights” provided by Alex (or anyone else for that matter). It felt like scenes and highlights from scores of other rom-coms were melded into this movie — all rehashed stuff that I’ve seen countless times before. I give the film 2 stars out of 5.