Sunday, February 8, 2009

He's Just Not That into You

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Star-Studded Cast Can’t Save Shallow Battle-of-the-Sexes Comedy

When you’re starting out with a cast stacked with Academy Award-winners like Jennifer Connelly and Ben Affleck, Oscar-nominee in Kris Kristofferson, Emmy-winner Jennifer Aniston, plus such accomplished thespians as Drew Barrymore, Scarlett Johansson, Justin Long and Ginnifer Goodwin, you really ought to produce a picture more compelling than this shallow, battle-of-the-sexes comedy. Directed by Ken Kwapis, He's Just Not That into You is based on the best selling self-help book of the same name by Liz Tuccillo and Greg Behrendt.
The movie is marred by a pre-feminist tone, primarily because the scattershot plot repeatedly resurrects the outdated notion that a female ought to feel incomplete unless she has landed not only a man but a ring on her hand. Meanwhile, the screen is littered with a slew of macho alpha males who seize on every opportunity to mistreat members of the opposite sex.
At the point of departure, the film drives home the point that this antagonistic way of relating is a universal phenomenon via illustrative international tableaus, including one in Africa where we find a “primitive” native girl waiting impatiently for a date who is late. She is assured by a sympathetic friend that “I’m sure he just forgot your hut number, or was eaten by a lion.” So, as you can see, the movie trades not merely in misogyny but in offensive ethnic stereotypes, too.
The story subsequently settles down in Baltimore, and introduces a plethora of desperate females on the brink of emotional crisis. Marriage-minded Beth (Aniston) is pressuring the guy (Affleck) she’s been living with for years to make an honest woman out of her. Dimwitted Gigi (Goodwin) has the hots for Conor (Kevin Connolly). Too bad he barely notices she’s alive.
Janine (Connelly) has suspicions about the fidelity of her husband, Ben (Bradley Cooper), who has been leaving behind telltale signs that he’s cheating on her. The shameless philanderer’s mistress, Anna (Johansson), is empty between the ears, otherwise he might not feel any remorse when his wife wises up and kicks him out of the house. And then there’s Mary (Barrymore), a reporter for the Baltimore Blade who might be quite contrary because all of her eligible colleagues at the newspaper are gay.
Don’t be duped by the promising-sounding scenarios, the material here never digs any deeper than the average episode of a cheesy TV sitcom from the Sixties or Seventies. Sorry, I’m just not that into The Love Boat. .

Fair (1 star)
Rated PG-13 for sexuality and brief profanity.
Running time: 129 minutes
Studio: New Line Cinema

To see a trailer for He's Just Not That into You, visit:

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