He’s Just Not That Into You, a new romantic comedy with an all star cast, is being described as Love Actually meets Sex and the City. Not surprising since the book it was based on was inspired by a line from the latter. The book’s authors Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo’s eureka moment came when they saw the episode Pick-A-Little, Talk-A-Little. On the show Miranda (if you don’t know who that is, stop reading now) was telling Carrie’s boyfriend Berger about a date who declined her invitation to come up to her apartment. “I have an early meeting,” he said by way of an excuse. Berger analyzes the situation and concludes that “he’s just not that into you,” adding that “when a guy’s really into you, he’s coming upstairs, meeting or no meeting.” That one exchange inspired a self help book which became a bestseller and now a two hour movie starring Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Aniston.
The multi-pronged plot involves a seemingly unconnected group of Baltimore men and women who by the time the movie is over have swapped spit, broken up, gotten back together, dated, stalked and generally dabbled in all forms of human interaction. The unifying theme is that one person in each relationship is more “into” the other person than vice versa. According to director Ken Kwapis the relationship tango goes like this: “Character A is going out with character B, character B is really into Character A, but Character A is really into Character C who’s dating Character D…”
The first thing you’ll notice about He’s Just Not That Into You is that every good looking actor or actress in Hollywood is in this movie. It’s a panoply of blue eyes, shiny coiffed hair and jaw lines so sharp you could use them to cut granite and, of course they all live in beautifully designed homes and have cool jobs. So go see the movie for the clothes, the apartments, the general beauty of the cast, but don’t expect anything useful in terms of relationship advice.
Despite the movie’s source material and general self-help premise this is one of the most toxic looks at male – female relations since the Brittney Spears, Kevin Federline wedding video. The women are either portrayed as a.) incomplete without a man in their lives, b.) home wreckers, or c.) pathetically man crazy.
The men don’t fare much better. The guys are needy, cheaters, slobs or downright smarmy. One man, played by Bradley Cooper, has a slip of the tongue where he says “funeral” when the word he should have said was “wedding.” That’s about the extent of the character development on display here. (In case you don’t get it, he’s wondering if he ruined his life by marrying too young.) All in all despite their obvious genetic gifts it’s no wonder these characters are terminally single.
He’s Just Not That Into You makes the point that dating is hard and relationships are difficult and confusing. Well, thanks for the info. I get it. I got it after the first hour. By the end of the second hour of watching these hapless characters flop around from one warm body to the next I could only think of one sure fire way to test for a prospective mate. Make them watch He’s Just Not That Into You. If they want to leave midway through you may have found someone worth hanging out with.