We See Chick Flicks: “He’s Just Not That Into You”
Starring Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Connolly, Bradley Cooper, Ginnifer Goodwin, Scarlett Johansson, Justin Long
When God created chick flicks, she/he had this one in mind as the epitome, the end all, be all of chick flicks. Not one straight man on the planet will see this film willingly, and those women who do, should walk in with a healthy dose of skepticism. After all, the movie is based on a self-help book of the same name, which has been ripped apart for its stereotyping of women. Plus, it wasn’t clear to me how in the hell it would translate into a film. That said, it was produced by Drew Barrymore’ Flower Films — which also put out the fluffy gem “Never Been Kissed” — and also stars Barrymore alongside Frisky faves Ginnifer Goodwin and Jennifer Connelly. Additionally, having been a crazy lady in the boy department many times myself, I went into the movie believing that there was nothing wrong with looking crazy moments like those in the face and laughing about how young and stupid we’ve all been. In that sense, “He’s Just Not That Into You” didn’t disappoint. The Lowdown: The majority of the movie’s point — conveying the many, many ways in which a woman can tell if a man “is just not that into” her — is told through Ginnifer Goodwin’s character Gigi, an eternally optimistic, if pathetically naive, woman desperately searching for The One. She is absolutely incapable of seeing the signs that a guy doesn’t like her. When Kevin Connolly’s character doesn’t call her after a date, she’s quick to think up all the many excuses for why he hadn’t called, save the real one (he didn’t want to) — he was out of town for work, he lost her number, etc. She rapidly devolves into the worst crazy stalker girl behavior — leaving him weird messages, stalking his favorite bar, etc. — in what can only be described as the most cringe-worthy moments of my movie viewing experience. Was Gigi over the top? Yes. Does the average woman behave this way all the time? Of course not. Have most of us done something like this and that’s why we’re cringing? Hell yes. To be honest, Gigi’s desperate desire to turn every guy who gave her the slightest bit of attention into the one, reminded me so much of myself during my late teens and early 20’s, albeit it in a more slapstick way. And Ginnifer Goodwin’s portrayal was funny and endearing, even if her character made you want to scream at the screen
All of the story lines within “He Just Not That Into You” are intertwined. Connor (played by Kevin Connolly), the guy who never calls Gigi, is dating (but not sleeping with!) Anna (Scarlett Johannson), a sexy yoga instructor, who is having an affair with a man (Cooper) who is married to a woman (Connelly) who hasn’t slept with him in a very long time. She works with Gigi and Beth (Aniston), a woman in a long term relationship with a man (Affleck) who doesn’t believe in marriage. Meanwhile, Anna is close friends with Mary (Barrymore), who’s trying to tackle the world of dating in the technological age. Throughout it all, Alex (Long), a friend of Conner, acts as a sort of consiglieri to Gigi as she tries to understand men.
The Verdict: No one really stretched their acting chops in this film — Barrymore is underused, Jennifer Aniston is, well, Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck is, well, Ben Affleck, and Scarlett Johansson does the tart thing capably, as usual. Goodwin is the real standout, while Cooper plays a convincing dick wad. I walked away from the movie wondering why Jennifer Connelly was rocking a uni-brow, and feeling weirdly dirty for finding Justin Long so sexy.
In the end, some of the women end up with the man they’re supposed to be with, a few end up alone, and everyone realizes that the ability, or INability to read the “just not that into you” signs, ultimately, is not something that’s exclusive to women. While the men never make quite as big of fools of themselves as the women, I did appreciate the fact that the movie ends up pinpointing a universal message — that the search for love can blind us all.