He's Just Not That Into You
It seems like a good sell
to get some of the biggest names in Hollywood as well as some of the hot
up-and-comers to take smallish ensemble roles in this good-hearted romantic
There are nine major
characters in He's Just Not That Into You - all intriguing roles and
yet some are under-explored. (Drew Barrymore's character in particular
feels like an afterthought.) Yet big stars like Jennifer Aniston,
Scarlett Johansson, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Connelly slip into their roles
with a complete lack of ego. This extraordinarily deep cast gives this
sweet Valentine perhaps a little more gravitas than the
charming-but-slight script deserves.
Remember the old J. Geils
Band "Love Stinks" couplet, "You love her, but she loves him,
and he loves somebody else, you just can't win."? Well, add a few
more spokes to the equation and you have He's Just Not That Into You.
It's all about missed connections and characters who look for love in the
wrong places. In fact, in the loosely connected group of nine Baltimore
single 30-somethings - about six are unsuccessfully involved with one of the
others while they should be involved with a different one.
Named after a snarky modern
romance guide, the film - like the book - is extremely wise about the
differing agendas and methods that men and women use in the mating process.
Also like the book, the film is much more hopelessly romantic than it would
like to let on.
Probably the breakthrough
characters are some of the lesser-known actors. Ginnifer Goodwin
essentially has the closest to what could be considered a leading role here
- playing Gigi, a cute and funny loser magnet who constantly over-analyzes
and sabotages her relationships because she is so desperate for love that
she will explain away most any slight or mistreatment coming her way.
When she is sorta stalking
a guy she met on a blind date (Kevin Connolly of Entourage) - she
meets a smooth and confident bartender, played Justin Long - who has done
several movies, but is still probably best known for his popular series of
Mac commercials. He gives her slightly cynical advice from the
other side - all the while not realizing that he's falling for the kooky
Goodwin and Long work
against each other well, having honed
their chemistry a few years ago as an on-again off-again high school nerd
couple on the quirky TV drama Ed.
The other lesser known
actor who shines is Bradley Cooper (Wedding
Crashers, Kitchen Confidential) - though he has the not exactly impossible role of
Ben - a
man torn between his wife Janine (played by Jennifer Connelly) and the idea
of an affair with a young, sexy
singer named Anna (Scarlett Johansson). A choice between Connelly and
Johansson - that's a bit of wish-fulfillment there. Still, his
character of Ben has to do some relatively reprehensible things and together
with Johansson he is the closest this film comes to a villain character.
Anna, while considering the
affair with the married man, is stringing along Conor - a smitten real
estate agent... who just happened to be the blind date who started Gigi's
self-reflection. Barrymore plays a woman who is flummoxed by the
intricacies of modern courtship - texting, email, MySpace, video chats.
She's also Anna's best friend and has a professional relationship with Conor.
It all gets a little incestuous in the world of He's Just Not Into You.
The only two characters
that sort of stand alone here are Beth (Jennifer Aniston) and Neil (Ben
Affleck) - at least relationship-wise they are separate from the fray,
though she works with Janine and Gigi and he is Ben's best friend.
They are a couple who has been together for seven years and she wants to get
married, but he doesn't.
I'm not 100% sure that the
movie is quite worthy of its star-studded cast, however I am glad that they
all did this sweet and amiable little movie. It is particularly nice
to see Jennifer Connelly doing some lighter comic fare again after spending the last
decade or so in some rather extremely dark films.
earthshaking happens in the movie - and it ends running a little too long -
and yet it is an insightful, funny and charming look at the modern battle of
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2009 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: June 1, 2009.