He’s Just Not That Into You
dir Ken Kwapis
scr Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein
with Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Aniston, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Connelly, Bradley Cooper, Ben Affleck, Justin Long, Kevin Connolly, Drew Barrymore, Busy Philipps, Luis Guzman, Kris Kristofferson
release US/UK 6.Feb.09
09/US 2h09
He's Just Not That Into You
Man trouble: Goodwin, Aniston and Connelly

johansson cooper affleck
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
He's Just Not That Into You In its attempt to grab the Sex and the City audience, this film demonstrates the same desperation its female characters show in their efforts to land a man. Despite a final surge of romantic sweetness, it's just not funny or engaging.

In Baltimore, Gigi (Goodwin) can't understand why she hasn't found the man of her dreams. Her latest date (Connolly) hasn't phoned back, and a local barman (Long) tells her to move on. Meanwhile, her colleague Beth (Aniston) is annoyed that her long-time boyfriend (Affleck) won't marry her. Another colleague, Janine (Connelly), is married to a guy (Cooper) who's secretly flirting with Anna (Johansson). And Mary (Barrymore) is having no luck with online dating.

Everyone here is so pathetic that it's not easy to like them. The women may be sympathetic, but they're also obsessive and mopey. And the screenplay offers equal opportunity sexism for men and women, as well as simplistic gay stereotyping. Director Kwapis works to keep everything bright and easy, with a tone that suggests that these are sassy and sharp people for whom seduction is just around the corner.

Except that nothing else confirms this. For a film that's essentially about sex, it feels extremely naive. And the snappy dialog has no bite; it often sounds like corny self-help rubbish. There's also, oddly, no real relationship between the women. And even with some twisty plotting, each story strand feels annoyingly predictable as it drags through more than two hours.

It may be billed as a rom-com, but there's no comedy. Yes, it's cute, and ultimately sentimental, but the most interesting material is the serious stuff. That said, only Aniston and Affleck generate believable romantic drama. Cooper is watchable as a slippery opportunist, while Long has the best dialog. But Goodwin is too clingy and Connelly has a weirdly thankless role as a paranoid wife.

In the end, this slick and easy film makes some pointed observations, but gets too bogged down in relationship "rules". Unnecessary to-camera vox pops feel like padding, straining to shove all relationships into a box while celebrating the exceptions to the rules. In other words, the film talks around issues without actually addressing them. But it'll probably be a massive hit.

cert 15 themes, language, innuendo 2.Feb.09

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© 2009 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall