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Sunday, 8 March 2009

He's Just Not That Into You

Turning popular relationship self-help book He's Just Not That Into You into a romantic comedy was never going to be easy, and not just because self-help books are usually somewhat short on those little things movies are built around like story and characters. Pretty much the entire point of the book is that instead of chasing after some guy or waiting for him to call, move onto the next guy and see if he treats you better. But the entire point of pretty much every romantic comedy out of Hollywood is that roughly two hours of misunderstandings, crossed wires, breaking up then making up is what love is all about. So it's to this film's credit that it manages to get as much of the original's message across as it does - even though there is a scene towards the end where one character tearfully rejects every single scrap of clear-headed relationship advice she's been given, and we're expected to cheer her decision to resume stalking guys and being treated by crap... because it's somehow a better path to love? The story here is pretty simple, as we follow a half dozen or so seemingly insanely wealthy Baltimore women (Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Drew Barrymore, Scarlett Johansson and Ginnifer Goodwin) as they search for love either inside their relationships or in a new one. They string guys along, guys string them along, they get in the way of what they really want, they get their wires crossed, and everything ends relatively happily. As a bonus, we also find out that having no relationship is better than having a crap one and gay guys know nothing about heterosexual relationships, both of which earn this film bonus points for originality. Add in decent performances across the board, especially from the women (Connelly does an especially good job as a woman who's husband is sorta kinda cheating on her in a variety of ways) and a passable sense of humour to balance out the serious stuff, and the result is something that pretty much anyone who's been in a relationship should have no trouble getting into.

Anthony Morris (this review appeared in Forte #447)