Saturday, February 07, 2009

"He's just not that into you" (2009) - Movie Review

I have never seen so many women at one place ready to listen for two hours, of course next to “Twilight” which had more of high school girl crowd. Clearly the perspective of this film is through a woman’s point of view. I was already beginning to form opinions about how sappy, cheap and manipulative the film is going to be and I have to tell you that I was caught by surprise. It is a little original but does use the usual steps to derive for the romantic comedies. I could straight through see two stories with much more focus than this example for each kind of relationship approach. Ensemble cast are the two words definite to appear on every review.

Germinating from the book of the same name from Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, it is a string of people wanting to be loved and also questioning the “signals, “sparks” and “connections to find reasons for their pursuit. But there is one character who is strongly in denial of his own marriage that every opportunity he is presented with the option of telling the truth that his marriage is not working, he says it as absolutely wonderful. He is Ben (Bradley Cooper) and his wife Janine (Jennifer Connelly) is the epitome of being that girl’s dream in life. They are in the process of building their new home and she is particularly irritating in the style and picture frame design she wants. She cannot stand any one smoking either and Ben has quit for her. She doubts it but there is more than smoke in him.

Ben and Janine form the stronger foundation the society has declared. Gigi (Jennifer Goodwin) is Janine’s colleague. She is cute, smart but obsessive about finding the man. She really puts out and wants quick answer. She is troubled by this phenomenon of dating, post-dating follow up and the things that originate to confuse and annoy both men and women. As expected there would come a young man Alex (Justin Long), a completely non-committal dude ready to loan his part of advice to her regarding men.

I have only covered two but there exists couple more and the interrupting monologues about “if he is..” segments. I loved the “if she is not sleeping with you” segment. Then what I did not like about this film? While there were many obvious routines which I regularly hate in romantic comedies, this film appears and pretends to dig deeper on the issue of this ritual of dating and finding the right love. It stages Gigi’s hunt for love as the film’s aspiration to woo its target audience and then builds around that with other very important serious relationship issues. Apart from Ben and Janine is a very interesting couple Neil (Ben Affleck) and Beth (Jennifer Aniston). Neil does not believe in marriage and they are in a true happy relationship for seven years. Beth has managed to ignore her friend’s prospect in moving towards life by marriage and kids for a while. But it gets the better of her. The stories about Ben & Janine and Neil & Beth is what I would have wanted to see more.

Then there is Conor (Kevin Connolly), Ben’s other girl Anna (Scarlett Johansson), the ad sales executive Mary (Drew Barrymore) and the gay friends who surround her as she is the center of this universe and many others in this film with something to say. And there is lots of phone calls, voice mails, obvious wrongs and the boring things we try to forget in films like this.

Ken Kwapis should have really moved off the Gigi part and stuck with the other two main stories. But even then, there should be a more clinical approach towards it. Even if the target audience would hate a film like that, you cannot cheat the reality of what the film assumes to know. It has some hard truths but it cannot get its hands around it.

Especially Neil disappears and Beth gets into her sister’s wedding and gets the look from her family and puts her in every awkward spots imaginable. Really? Come on people. Then of course she would come to realize the greatness of her man but does it have to be so obvious? And then it takes another step in pleasing the audience to make them go against the very same rule they agreed upon to stay together. That is compromising the integrity of a film.

I can say that the truth of going out in the field and ready to face the risk, embarrassment, humiliation and making fool out of ourself is something we should chance upon to meet the love we crave for. There is no denial that there is a breaking of hearts and feelings anywhere when this search happens. But there are more better ways to have it given. In fact this film had it with two of them and then cuddled itself to the niceties of selling its soul to the box office and to the faces of its target audience.


coffee said...

the two Jennifers (Aniston and Connelly) make a great team

Ashok said...

I am not sure about that :-) at least in terms of this film.