He's Just Not That Into You
Distributed by: New Line Cinema
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In 2004, Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo published He’s Just Not That Into You, a self-help book designed as a guide for dating single women. The book helps women deal with the numerous issues that come up when women meet men and the variety of signals sent back and forth during that meeting that could determine whether there will be a second date. The book was extremely popular and in 2009, producer Drew Barrymore and director Ken Kwapis introduced a romantic comedy to the theaters loosely based on the ideas in the book. I missed the movie in the theaters but recently had the chance to view it on DVD.
He’s Just Not That Into You chronicles the romantic adventures…or misadventures of nine individuals in the city of Baltimore. Each of these individuals lives overlap in some way shape or form. There’s Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin), a hopeless romantic looking for love in all the wrong places. When we first meet Gigi, she is on a date with Conor Barry (Kevin Connolly), a successful real estate agent with no interest in Gigi. Instead, Conor is head over heals for Anna Taylor (Scarlett Johansson), an up-and-coming singer who falls instantly for a guy who lets her cut in front of him at a local mini-mart.
The guy turns out to have the hots for her too. The only hitch is that Ben Gunders (Bradley Cooper) is married to high school sweatheart Janine Gunders (Jennifer Connelly), an obsessive compulsive career woman who happens to have set Gigi up with Conor. Gigi and Janine work with Beth Bartlett (Jennifer Anniston), whose sister’s impending marriage has her wondering why her longtime live-in boyfriend Neil (Ben Affleck) hasn’t proposed to her yet.
Obsessing over why Conor hasn’t called, Gigi stops by a bar he frequents and runs into Conor’s roommate, Alex (Justin Long), manager of the bar and a man rather insightful regarding the mating habits of men. Meanwhile, Anna’s friend Mary (Drew Barrymore), who also happens to be the editor of the newspaper Conor advertises in, is also looking for love in all the wrong cyberspaces.
While many of the reactions by the female characters in this movie are exaggerated, this is still a movie that the audience can relate to. Who wouldn’t be able to identify a friend or co-worker who has reacted to a man’s advances…or lack thereof…in the manner portrayed in the film. You, perhaps, may have been this woman and your reactions may have been similar or even more overboard.
My favorite characters in He’s Just Not That Into You are Gigi and Mary. Perhaps it’s because Gigi’s reactions are so easy to relate to and so overly exaggerated, or perhaps it’s just that we feel so badly for this hopeless romantic that we actually root for her to find true love. Mary is simply hysterical in her bid to find a suitable mate via cyberspace, text messaging, emailing and posting on blog sites all in an effort to find the perfect man for her. The best description of her experience comes in the following line that had me rolling in hysterical laughter: “I had this guy leave me a voice mail at work, so I called him at home, and then he emailed me to my BlackBerry, and so I texted to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.”
There are quite a few lines and situations like this in the film that will send you into peels of laughter. But laughter is not the only emotion you will experience. Although you will undoubtedly hate Ben’s infidelity, you will completely understand it. The emotion I’m getting at is full-on, unadulterated hate for his neurotic controlling wife Janine. I could give or take Beth and Neil’s storyline. And I have complete understanding as to where Conor is coming from. I wasn’t certain about Anna until I watched some of the deleted scenes that explained her irrational need for negative attention from all the wrong people.
All in all, the film He’s Just Not That Into You was actually a lot more enjoyable than I expected it to be. I had heard that women hated the film - perhaps that is because so many women are exactly like some of the characters in it. I, for one, have always been able to laugh at myself…and others for that matter…and therefore was quite amused by He’s Just Not That Into You. Guys will love this movie. Girls, you’ll laugh a lot if you just don the tough skin before viewing - sometimes, the truth hurts.