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Monday
Feb092009

He's Just Not That Into You

Going into this, I was totally ready to create a clever title for this review, something along the lines of, "I'm Just Not That Into This Movie," but the truth is, He's Just Not That Into You is actually pretty solid. Considering how tepid and crappy most romantic comedies tend to be, how could I have thought otherwise? Luckily for me (and you), this film breaks the mold and gives us a perfect Valentine's Day flick that even the fellas might not mind checking out.

Like its genre cousin, Love Actually, He's Just Not That Into You has way too many characters and plotlines to follow, some of which are very interesting and some of which are boring and unnecessary. And also like Love Actually, the characters are tied together somewhat loosely and it would have benefited from a shorter run time.

Believe it or not, the film runs over two hours long, which can admittedly be off-putting and it crams plenty of stories into that 2+ hours. The problem is that for every story that you care about, there is another that probably should have been left on the cutting room floor. For instance, the Justin Long and Ginnifer Goodwin characters are interesting, charming, and they form a great relationship. Every minute spent with them is wonderful and it shows the game that boys and girls play when it comes to dating. These characters are smartly written and fun to watch. (Honestly, I could have watched a whole standalone flick about Ginnifer Goodwin. That girl is adorable!) But then you have your Ben Affleck and Jennifer Aniston characters, two people living together, in love, but aren't married. Aniston wants to get married, Affleck doesn't, so she freaks out. Well, boo hoo. I thought the film was called He's Just Not That Into You, not He's Just Not That Into Facing the Crushing Reality That Life Sucks After Marriage. Although the payoff at the end of the film was sweet and had me getting goosebumps, these characters felt forced into what was otherwise a solidly written film and they should have been cut.

Picture this for me if you will. After the screening for this film, I was super hungry. Since I'm poor and have no food back at my place, I decided to go pick something up. As I stood in line and waited my turn to order, a romantic college couple was talking behind me. After the chick says something playfully mean to her boyfriend, the guy says, "I guess one of us has to be the asshole in this relationship." She responds, "I have enough of both to go around; naughty and nice. You can just be yourself." Then in one of those cutesy, melodic voices she sings, "That's why I love you!" I almost hurled right then and there. Now picture me turning around, smacking them both and saying, "You two are why romantic comedies are cliché!" Of course, I didn't do that, but damn I was close.

My point is this. After hearing that revolting exchange, I realized that He's Just Not That Into You was practically void of clichés. This moment of actuality surpassed the film in eye-rolling, ridiculous, sappy, sentimental bullcrap we've all become accustomed to. It actually avoids many of the typical problems most romantic comedies fall under and for that, I cannot praise it enough. Although it does revert back to clichés near the end of the picture, it was mostly satisfying and the two characters I cared most about were sent off with a bang. I'm actually bumping my score up half a point because those two lovebirds annoyed me so much that I actually found myself appreciating the film more. That's quite a feat.

This is one of those movies that I would deem "critic proof." Valentine's Day is coming up and this movie is going to make bank regardless of what I or anybody else says about it. It's just that simple. What's surprising, however, is that the film is one I would actually want to go see with my loved one on that special day and I think many guys will be quite surprised when the film is over. He's Just Not That Into You is a romantic comedy that isn't very funny, but it's original enough to be entertaining, a rare breed indeed. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

He's Just Not That Into You receives 4/5

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