'He's Just Not That Into You' Fails to Wow

By Broadside Staff Writer Ross Bonaime. Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

MovieHe's Just Not That Into You shares more than a few similarities with the 2003 romantic comedy Love, Actually: an ensemble cast comprised of 20- to 30-somethings interacting and dealing with their problems involving love and the different ways to deal with various aspects of love. The main difference in Love, Actually is that it dealt with a whimsical view of the beginnings of love. He's Just Not That Into You deals with more realistic views of relationships, where people sit at home, staring at the phone, pondering “what could have been” and why their lives are not more like the lives of people in movies like Love, Actually.

This film, based on the self-help book of the same name primarily follows co-workers Beth, Gigi and Janine. Beth (Jennifer Aniston) wants to get married having spent seven years with anti-marriage boyfriend Neil (Ben Affleck). Janine (Jennifer Connelly) is more interested in decorating her new home than in her husband Ben (Bradley Cooper, Wedding Crashers, Alias). Ben meets Anna (Scarlett Johansson), an aspiring musician, who he promises to try to help with her career. But really, he is only interested in her physically. Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) is a neurotic mess who clings to a form of technology with which her potential beaus can reach her. After a date with Conor (Kevin Connolly), who is preoccupied with Anna, Gigi attempts to find him when he does not call back for a second date. While doing this, Conor's best friend Alex (Justin Long) becomes a sort of love doctor to her and explains what she has done wrong is previous relationships and how to remedy this.Movie

Since the three main protagonists are female, the film has a predominantly female perspective, making the men look like the bad guys in almost every situation. This makes for a very biased look at these relationship problems.

What makes the cast work is that almost everyone involved is well versed in both comedy and drama, but that does not make the film any less believable. Most characters’ stories wrap up in a nice little package, which is disappointing due to the fresh plot points that the film delivers. Not only that, but with so many characters, some get lost in the crowd. For example, Mary (Drew Barrymore) sporadically moves in and out of the story, her only purpose being to proclaim the problems with relationships in a digital age. Many characters do not seem as fleshed out as they could have been if there were fewer characters.

MovieDirector Ken Kwapis is a wiz when it comes to TV directing, with credits from such great shows as The Office, ER and Freaks and Geeks, yet his films border between humor and sappiness as witnessed in License to Wed and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. It is a shame that the humor from his TV shows do not translate to this film, but his mockumentary experience with The Office pays off in some of the funniest sequences where different people are interviewed based on various relationship topics. Kwapis makes the city of Baltimore look gorgeous and the quirky soundtrack makes this a nice change from the New York City/KT Tunstall-packed rom-coms of late.

But what the film does give are great performances that will introduce audiences to fantastic actors who are not very well known like Ginnifer Goodwin, who balances being needy and adorable. As the film’s narrator, we see the action through her eyes more than anyone elses. Sharing the screen with A-list talent like Aniston and Affleck, Goodwin really holds her own. Cooper also shines as perfectly deceptive, yet kind of likable.

Considering the droll, predictable rom-coms that barrage the early half of the year, He's Just Not That Into You brings some new blood into the genre. But unforunately it falls victim to many of the clichés and stereotypes of similar films makes the second half of this film falter.

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