Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Review: He's just not that into you.

Year: 2009
Director: Ken Kwapis
Screenplay: Abby Kohn & Marc Silverstein
Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Scarlett Johansson, Drew Barrymore, Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper, Justin Long, Kevin Connolly, Kris Kristofferson

He's just not that into you is based on a non-fictional self-help book, however by the end of the film I swear the books title must have been the big book of fairy tales. I've seen Friends of mine have checked this film out and sworn the valid oath of truth upon it. Hell, my girlfriend didn't want me to watch it due to the fact that "it shows why women are all crazy".

Some the film brings up some interesting points of dating and relationships that could spark some fun debate (One character sums up some aspects of the young female thought process that ring very true. However, the film can't help but leave one foot lodged in a dream world. The worst thing is, it believes that the audience should believe it too. This is a film which states that women are conditioned to be nuts, but that's fine, because as long as they believe that life will fit into a neat little package...it will happen.

As a romantic comedy, it fails because it's not as funny as it should be. It fairs better as a romantic drama but loses it's way near the end as it believes that even unjustified moments of closure should be possible. It's irritating when a character believes in something strongly throughout a film, only to give up their belief because of some unnatural reason, or when a character gets a magical fairytale ending which just doesn't ring true but this film has them.

This is probably due to the huge amount of characters the film has to spend time with. Ensemble pieces are always tricky beasts and unfortunately director Ken Kwapis buckles under the pressure. So many characters, so many noticeable faces but so little focus, it's no surprise that the best narrative strands are the ones which have a little more time to breathe. With this said, even with so much going on, the screenplay is fully on point with a few aspects of the modern dating. The film touches on modern communication destroying the simple art of courting and even takes the slightest of glances at the idea of non married couples living happily together. Unfortunately any true insight is ignored in order to stay away from "troublesome" grey areas.

Surprisingly the stories that work well don't have the best performances in them. Ginnifer Goodwin is wonderfully sweet as the luckless wonder of love, while Justin Long is slowly building himself to be a reliable character actor as is Kevin Connolly (despite the role is just him being E) . Others aren't so lucky; Bradley Cooper is plain, Jennifer Anstion's only good film role is still The Good Girl, Scarlett Johanssonis woefully miscast, while Jennifer Connelly just needed more to do. Drew Barrymore, Luiz Guzman and Kris Kristofferson are also in this, but for no other reasons other than fill space*.

He's just not that into you is a weak entry into a very packed genre of movie. I can understand why my girlfriend didn't want me to see this as it did still show females as the bizarre enigma they are. It's a shame it did nothing to help me understand them anymore than usual. She should have stopped me from watching it however as it does have Scarlett Johansson looking stunning so I guess there a small piece of cash back.

*Note: Notice i didn't mention Ben Affleck in this? That's because it's Ben Affleck....take that how you will.