I was apprehensive about seeing this movie. You see, I like (well OK, more like love) romantic comedies. The problem is 80% of them aren’t even tolerable. I have paid good money to be bored to tears numerous times watching Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaghey’s chemistry fizzle in stories whose plots stretch the limits of logic. For every Bridget Jones’s Diary, there are 12 Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reasons. It’s just that when things go right, you get repaid with a classic like When Harry Met Sally (on my all-time top five movie list). When I saw the previews for He’s Just Not That into You, I had hopes for it to rival Love Actually, but fears it might end up like…well any Jennifer Lopez rom-com. It ends up landing somewhere in between.
Before I go any further on this specific movie, I want to take a moment to defend the romantic comedy. Are they predictable? Yes. Formulaic? Certainly. Completely unrealistic? Absolutely. However, they are no more predictable, formulaic, and unrealistic than action, horror, sci-fi, or any other genre films. My fear is that romantic comedies get such a bad wrap because they are ‘women’s’ movies and therefore deemed somehow less relevant in the grand pop culture scheme than say, the latest comic book adaptation. Is it asking too much, as an audience member, to wish that Hollywood would be willing to invest in more charming, smart, funny love stories and that those stories could actually be relevant and meaningful? Yes? Damn, because I and a lot of my friends would go see such a movie. To quote Pretty Woman, “I have all this money *sob* and nobody *sob* will help me.” OK, I’ll get off my soapbox now.
Surprising things about He’s Just Not That into You:
1.) Ben Affleck was charming and I even forgot I was watching Ben Affleck at times.
2.) I identified most with a male character (I’ll let you guess which one). This caused a teensy bit of what’s-wrong-with-me self-examination, but then I ate some ice cream from the container, sang ABBA into a hairbrush with my girlfriends while trying on different outfits, and forgot all about it.
3.) Other audience members are dumber than I think they are. There is a moment when it is officially revealed that Bradley Cooper’s and Jennifer Connelly’s characters are married to each other. This fact was obvious to me within the first few minutes of the film. The woman next to me audibly gasped when it was officially confirmed at least an hour later.
In short, if you like romantic comedies, rent this one or go to a matinee. It’s entertaining enough for a Sunday afternoon. Also, Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote an interesting piece on chick flicks for Entertainment Weekly, check it out.
I’m the kind of girl who chooses to go see a movie like Taken on Valentine’s Day, the kind of girl who owns and repeatedly watches the Die Hard movies. I’m not a romantic comedy gal. But I agreed to go see He’s Just Not That Into You. I had seen previews and was super annoyed by the scene where Drew Barrymore says, “He MySpaced me.” My reaction: “Did I just teleport back to 2005 when MySpace was relevant?” It seems crazy to me that studio executives couldn’t update that line for the release (Ever heard of Facebook?). Despite that, I’ll admit I was actually pretty charmed by the movie and laughed out loud numerous times. It was a more realistic, modern take on love than I expected.
My favorite part was Ginnifer Goodwin. I already had immense respect for her, because of her work on Big Love, but now I absolutely adore her. She was charming, vulnerable and incredibly funny. I also thought Jennifer Aniston was great. Despite it being a rather fluffy film, Aniston’s performance showed some depth and emotional range that I hadn’t seen from her since The Good Girl. I’m a huge fan of Jennifer Connelly. I thought she was incredible in Requiem for a Dream, but her dramatic skills felt constrained in a movie like this. For lack of a better metaphor, it felt like a bull in a china shop.
Justin Long was charming and funny, but he’s just still not my type as a leading man. Watching him kiss Ginnifer Goodwin was one of the most awkward, chemistry-lacking kisses I’ve seen, even worse than some I witnessed at a 5th grade roller skating party. In regards to Kevin Connolly…. eh. He’s not a terrible actor, but he’s just not who I care about winning the girl. Ben Affleck was actually pretty darn good, in an understated way. SPOILER ALERT: But I was really disappointed when his character proposed at the end to Jennifer Aniston. I had been really moved by what he had to say about love and not needing the label of marriage and Aniston’s character realizing he was already more of a husband than her sisters’ ever would be. But I think I’m in the minority with being miffed over that plot point, since all the women in the audience “ooh’d” and “ahhh’d” when Aniston found the ring.
Speaking of audience reactions… Scarlett Johansson plays a young, beautiful, carefree girl. And she is damn hot (though someone should talk to her about bad hair extensions). In one scene, where Connelly’s husband (played by Bradley Cooper) grabs Miss Johanson’s magnificent bosom, a guy sitting next to me in the movie theater actually yelled out, “Oh!” I guess he was excited. My point is, there’s something in this movie for both the girls and the guys.
My mom also saw this film. She did not really enjoy it. Here’s what she had to say: “I wouldn’t waste the money going, but I already did.”
LA Viewers: A matinee at the Grove or Landmark with girlfriends is recommended. But maybe leave your mom at home.
Translation for non-LA natives: If you’re suffering from the recession, wait for the DVD. But if you’re suffering from not enough girl time or want to be charmed by Ginnifer Goodwin, go catch a matinee.
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