He's Just Not That Into You

He's Just Not That Into You


Reviewed by: Martin Gray

What is it with studios misselling films lately? First the excellent Slumdog Millionaire is advertised on buses as "the feelgood film of the decade", which is true only if you've had a pretty rotten decade; and now He's Just Not That Into You is trailed as a fluffy romcom.

It's not. Yes, it has plenty of funny moments, and romance preoccupies every character, but it's anything but fluffy. What it is, is a warm, wise and witty examination of male/female relations so grounded in the real that makes Sex And The City look as insightful as a stool softener TV ad.

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This is that rare beast, a true ensemble drama. Jennifer Aniston wants long-term partner Ben Affleck to marry her. Kevin Connolly wants galpal Scarlett Johansson to be more. Scarlett Johansson and Bradley Cooper want each other, but he's married to Jennifer Connelly and she wants their renovation finished. Ginnifer Goodwin wants bartender Justin Long to tell her why his chum Connolly never rang her back after an apparently successful blind date arranged by co-worker Connelly ... (deep breath) ... who also works with Aniston, whose partner Affleck is pals with Cooper. Meanwhile, Drew Barrymore, who handles estate agent Connolly's advertising, searches for love online and never seems to meet a real human guy.

It sounds complicated, but it's not, as director Ken Kwapis organises his material with intelligence - there are never more than a few main characters per scene, chapter headings introduce different themes without seeming too contrived and verité nuggets of wit and wisdom from 'real people' pepper the production. The movie moves along at a fine crack, and because all the characters are likeable, I was never waiting for the camera eye to turn back to a favourite.

There's not a weak link in the cast, as the lesser-known leads hold their own alongside Affleck, Connelly and co. If anything, there are star-making performances from TV stalwarts Cooper (Alias) and Goodwin (Big Love). The characters feel like people who have had lives before the film began, and will go on falling in and out of love after we've left the cinema. The Baltimore setting makes a fine change of pace from the more usual New York and LA, and there's a terrrific soundtrack to boot. And while the various storylines are resolved, the bow in which loose ends are tied is anything but pink.

If you like romcoms, you'll like this - it's close enough to the mean to deliver. And if you lean towards light, yet sharp, character drama, you'll be into it too.

Reviewed on: 17 Feb 2009
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Love is all around, but saccharine's kept at bay.
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Read more He's Just Not That Into You reviews:

Stephen Carty ***1/2
Jennifer McGillan ***

Director: Ken Kwapis

Writer: Abby Kohn, Mark Silverstein

Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin. Kevin Connolly, Bradley Cooper, Scarlett Johansson, Justin Long, Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Justin Long, Drew Barrymore

Year: 2009

Runtime: 129 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US, Germany


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