COURTESY OF NEW LINE CINEMA
‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ treats both male and female viewers to an inside look at the tools of the trade. Guys will be refreshed by the new perspective on a woman’s wants; ladies garner relationship dos and don’ts.
By BRYAN KOENIG
Eagle Contributing Writer
“He’s Just Not That Into You” is definitely, unequivocally, absolutely a chick flick. There are tears, hugs and girlfriends galore, lending helping hands, offering wisps of wisdom and shoulders to cry on. Chick flick or not, it is also a film guys cannot only appreciate, but also learn a great deal from.
Based off a relationship advice book of the same name by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, inspired by an episode of “Sex and the City,” “He’s Just Not That Into You” is a how-to for dating, relationships and the opposite sex for men as well as women. Stellar performances by an A-list cast that includes Justin Long, Ginnifer Goodwin, Kevin Connolly, Scarlett Johansson, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Aniston portray every stereotype and archetype from the committed relationship to newlyweds and even the needy clinger. Through them, audiences experience every question they’ve ever asked about relationships, feeling needy, fulfilled and confused as they follow the characters through weddings, parties and more than one crying session.
Perhaps the biggest surprise for audiences is Ben Affleck as Neil, a charming, chivalrous and, dare I say, likable character. In a seven-year relationship with Aniston’s Beth, the two display not just a palpable chemistry but the true feel of a relationship - one with ups and downs and a deep rooted connection. Despite constantly skipping from one perspective and relationship to another, never does the film feel rushed or bloated, flowing between the various characters with a nimble dexterity. Each character is so representative of at least one aspect of the dating scene that audience members can’t help but relate to them.
Though very much a chick flick, guys can watch and even enjoy the film. It’s more than just bearable for those dragged on a date; while two thirds of the movie are directed at women and pitfalls with men they should be on the lookout for, one third is fully dedicated to the male perspective and in revealing why the opposite sex can seem so perplexing. The film manages to avoid the classic clichés like makeover montages, singing into random objects and quirky best friends.
The problem guys have with most chick flicks is that they are directed entirely at women. So much is given to the female perspective, so much is dedicated to creating a pillow for a woman to cry into or a bright ray of sunlight to smile at that men feel completely lost. They watch painfully as things they have no interest in play out; most men simply do not understand shoes, eyeliner or nails. “He’s Just Not That Into You” doesn’t bother with such things; it prefers to stay rooted in the reality of modern, high-tech dating, showing the discovery of true love while affirming that it is OK to be alone, move on, and keep waiting for that special one.
In most chick flicks, one expects plenty of hankies and shopping expeditions, understandable to women but often lost in men. In “He’s Just Not That Into You,” what men get instead is emotional and universal, without soulmates or love at first sight, but what is loved, lost and very, very real.
He hasn’t called. Or text messaged, e-mailed or written on your Facebook wall. Put down the phone, walk away from the computer and stop waiting - if you’ve been waiting this long, he’s just not that into you.
Directed by Ken Kwapis, “He’s Just Not That Into You” is based on the best seller by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. Featuring a loaded cast, the film tells the interconnecting stories of several men and women in Baltimore trying to navigate the ever-churning tides of relationships and love. But the film goes beyond entertainment, offering women the opportunity to step back and see what works and what doesn’t in relationships.
Everything about the film is familiar. Gigi is desperately looking for love (who hasn’t been there?) and finds a coach in the emotionally reserved Alex; Janine and Ben are happily married and contemplating expanding their family until Ben meets and falls for Anna; Anna has to choose between the comfortable, stuck-in-limbo relationship with Connor or to flirt uncertainly with married Ben; Mary doesn’t know how to connect with men. These issues - commitment, comfort and cheating - are all problems we may not yet know how to handle without tears or tight fists.
Previously, many women looked to “Sex and the City” for their relationship woes. Unfortunately, we can’t all dull our sorrows in $600 stilettos or the sexy doorman at our exclusive apartment building. That’s where “He’s Just Not That Into You” steps in.
Females everywhere will flock to theaters based on the chick-flick impression the movie gives off. But I found more depth to the story than I expected. The stories told could be found in any generic love movie; the unique twist comes with the way the filmmakers tell them. While the scenarios differ, the message delivered is essentially the same: if he won’t call, won’t commit, won’t tell the truth, won’t put out, then he is not interested - exactly what women don’t want to feel, hear or admit. But the movie adds some sugar to help the truth sink in. Interspersed with the stories are interviews discussing topics like “if he’s cheating on you,” providing a humorous look into what “real” people do.
Although the film is filled with good advice on interpreting dates and the actions of the opposite sex, some aspects are stereotypical. The women are stuck in their respective situations, whether it be Gigi, in her quest to find a man who will actually call her back, or Beth, who has everything except a wedding ring.
Even though those six words are the last a girl wants to hear, recognizing the signs that indicate if he really is into you is an invaluable skill to have. Perhaps it’s the opposite-sex authors that allowed for a film that can be used as a relationship guide. With the lovable aspects of a chick flick and the advice of the book, “He’s Just Not That Into You” makes for a great film to see on a girl’s night out. If your friend just doesn’t get it, taking her to see this movie may be the way to laugh some sense into her.