Review: 'He's Just Not That Into You'
"He's Just Not That Into You" isn't exactly a romantic comedy. Yes, the characters work themselves into the same sorts of tizzies over finding or falling in and out of love - but mixed in with the fizziness is an unexpected seriousness, an attempt at injecting realism and even failure.
All those A-listers in the ensemble cast (Jennifer Aniston! Scarlett Johansson!) are smiling in the movie's posters, but don't let that fool you. Some heavy stuff falls upon their pretty heads. But while it's admirable that the film from director Ken Kwapis ("The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants") tries to shake up a typically frivolous formula, too many other elements undermine his intentions.
Based on the best-selling advice book by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, it follows nine intertwined characters struggling to make sense of their love lives. The women, especially Ginnifer Goodwin's hopeless romantic Gigi, tend to be needy and demanding; the men, like Bradley Cooper's cheating Ben, often caddish and evasive.
And their stories are broken up with title cards taken from the source material's chapters ("... if he's not calling you," for example) that make "He's Just Not That Into You" feel like episodic television. Maybe that's fitting, since the title comes from a line uttered on "Sex and the City." But it doesn't always work.
We begin with Gigi obsessing over a blind date with Baltimore real-estate agent Conor (Kevin Connolly). Winsome and attractive as she is, she's also annoyingly desperate, to the point where she drives herself and everyone else mad analyzing every "uh" and "er" said by a guy.
Thankfully, Conor's restaurant-manager pal Alex (Justin Long) is there to strip her of her girlish illusions. Functioning as the voice of the book, Alex gives her advice that's hilarious in its harshness: "Maybe he just didn't call because he has no interest in seeing you again." Long brings refreshing charisma to this cruelty.
From there, everything else is a downer. Gigi's co-worker, Beth (Aniston), has been living with boyfriend Neil (Ben Affleck) for seven years, but he's never asked her to marry him. Janine (Jennifer Connelly in a meaty performance), is married to her college sweetheart (Cooper), who's having an affair with yoga instructor Anna (Johansson in full va-va-voom mode). Drew Barrymore, an executive producer on the film, has a supporting role. After more than two hours, it feels like a Robert Altman movie on Botox. The substace got a bit lost in the gloss.
* "He's Just Not That Into You," now playing at the Vista III in Storm Lake. Rated PG-13. Two stars out of four.