Tuesday, July 28, 2009

He's Just Not That Into You (2.6.2009)

Director: Ken Kwapis Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Scarlett Johansson, Ginnifer Goodwin Co-Starring: Jennifer Connelly, Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper Watch for: Foreshadowing scenery and storyline crossovers. Editor(s): Cara Silverman Would I Buy It: Just to have an example of what "girly" movies should strive to be. It surprised me. I rented it via Netflix for my girlfriend and I to watch. It was appealing to me for a few simple reasons: Jennifer Connelly, Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Anniston in conjunction with Justin Long and Ben Affleck (who did a bit better this time around), though this is not the order in which they are billed. However, the marketing people want you to think this movie is about Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck and Drew Barrymore. They're in there (Drew least of all), but it's not. It's really about all of them. Not about their specific characters, either, but the character which each of them represent. As it turns out, "Gigi", played by an a previously unbeknown to me Ginnifer Goodwin, leads us through this drama which exemplifies every single way your average "chick flick" could play out. And I say let us be done with the genre forever!! I'm dreaming. However, there were... let me count... five women and four men that this film focused on, however over the course of it we were introduced and walked through several relationships at different phases. Breaking it down, because I was having trouble keeping up at certain points (and my girlfriend would quite frequently point a couple minutes after a scene started and say things like "Oh, he was the guy from the beginning with her!"), let's go one at a time here. Jennifer Connelly (Janine) -> Married to Bradley Cooper (Ben) Jennifer Anniston (Beth) -> 7-year relationship with Ben Affleck (Neil), she wonders if he'll ever pop the question. Ginnifer Goodwin (Gigi) -> Hopeless Perfected. Co-Worker to the Jennifers. Obsessed with every man who talks to her (while at a bar?), and even meets a seemingly wise bartender/manager in Justin Long (Alex). Scarlett Johansson (Anna) -> The temptress. Not sure if she wants Kevin Connolly (Conor) or the stranger she recently met at the checkout (Ben again). Drew Barrymore (Mary) -> The e-Dater. Consumed by electronics, works in advertising. Afraid of the real world aside from her fair allotment of, I apologize if I'm allowed to use this term, fag hags. Although, her story is the one that works into the plot the least. She's an modern-day-commentary-aside, at best. And, just to be clear: Ben and Neil are friends. Alex and Conor are friends (possibly ex-roommates?). Janine, Beth and Gigi all work together, Anna teaches yoga where Gigi takes the occasional class, Mary is Conor's ad rep and just to make sure it feels like a romantic comedy, there's some gay guys that show up here and there for flavor. And I think I'm forgetting some of the connections. So basically, there are maybe 20 people that live in this city. Moving on. If you took any one of these women, you could (or there already has been) a movie made about their love life. However, seeing as this was a 129 minute film (Aha! RomComs are usually close to 90 minutes!), the time was less-than-evenly split between them. There were some warmup scenes in the beginning, but overall we got the juicy bits. All the relationshippy parts of the romcoms engulf the movie, cutting out all the usual crap you see pasted over the TV spots in the Oprah timeslots. And while if you're not prepared for it, which I wasn't, keeping up can be a little bit maddening. The cutest, most endearing moment of the film belongs to (I'll admit it, my favorite actress) Jennifer Connelly. After discovering, for herself and the audience, that her husband is in fact a complete lying sack of shit (he looked her right in the EYES, man), she begins throwing his stuff down the stairs and breaks a mirror. She stares at it in awe and walks out of the room. Then, instead of the scene ending, she returns with a broom and dustpan. If you were watching her character at all, your heart just breaks for her in that moment. Connelly showed us the dramatic couple with the failing marriage. Aniston showed us the couple that "should" (look for the poster) be together for good, but the dude doesn't quite know it yet. Ginifer is the romcom cliche we all paid to see based on their TV spots. Scarlett has actually done this role before, only in Match Point and that one ends quite differently (this is kind of how I knew he was a liar, but that's neither here nor there). She plays the girl who's with a guy but meets another guy but that guy turns out to be a big fat liar so she ends up with nobody. If you haven't seen Match Point, go check out how different a direction they take that story in. I'm still not over it. Ms. Barrymore plays another romcom cliche, basically Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail and Hitch all rolled into one. Long distance initiation. And through all of this, along with some cutaways to "interviews", which I at first pegged as a ripoff to the When Harry Met Sally format, but thinking about it later reveals it to be a tool of foreshadowing, as well as some titles which I assume were chapters in a book this was based on (I really have no idea), we somehow got a complete film. My only problem is that I went in thinking it was going to be girl wants a guy, spends the whole movie trying to get to that first kiss. Boy, is that far from it. Ginnifer, yes, but this is a serious drama, with some mild humor that you enjoy but don't need to burst out laughing for, exemplifying what film has shown the modern city girl to expect for every relationship she goes through. It's not a straight road, there's a few different forks you can get off at, but overall the message here is that we are programmed to expect something, but relationships are their own self-fulfilling prophecies. I actually have to watch this again, but this is the general idea they sold me on. So much happens in this film, there's no way I caught it all the first time through. However, it impressed me with it's intelligence, even though at times it does get caught up within the romcom drama/comedic style, but it always brought itself right back to speed. It made me guess as to what would happen next a lot and unlike Will Smith having an allergic reaction or Sandra Bullock falling all over herself again, it kept me guessing. It took wild turns, despite all of it's regular developments that ran along side them in other storylines. And the ending, an ending to contest only with Return of the King for screentime, wraps up all the relationships in just about every way any RomCom date movie ever could. And I've barely even heard a word about this film from anywhere else. Talk to the marketing people.

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