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27th August
2009
written by Steph
But will I be into this movie?  That's the really important thing!

But will I be into this movie? That's the really important thing!

Normally Tony is very good about indulging my desire to watch bad movies. While he might not be first in line to see the latest chick flick, then again, normally neither am I. But sometimes I do want to see a predictable rom com where I can turn my brain off, but hopefully still be charmed. These tend to be cases where Netflix comes into play, so that we can watch from the relative safety and privacy of our own home. This is how I get away with watching crap like Twilight and, well, He’s Just Not That Into You. In this case, though, I actually watched this one day at home over lunch while Tony was at work, because while I knew he would watch it with me, I knew it would probably be little to no fun for him, so I figured I would save him the agony. To be fair, I was expecting this movie to be so bad that I wound up being mildly impressed by how not bad it was. Don’t get me wrong, the movie isn’t really very good, but I had expected it to be so irredeemably bad that I wound up feeling it had perhaps been too harshly judged by its critics. It’s not reinventing the wheel, it’s not breaking any new ground, but I don’t know that this is a huge crime against the movie-going public. It’s a romantic comedy! I’m not saying these can’t be thoughtful and well done, but that’s not normally their m.o., and moreover, the people who tend to go see them generally don’t want them to be surprising! If you go to see The Proposal and Sandra Bullock and Mr. Scarlet Johansson don’t fall in love at the end of it? A bunch of people are going to be pissed! I don’t know that I can summarize the plot, as HJNTIY is really a series of vignettes, with a bunch of characters who are more or less dealing with problems regarding the opposite sex… Oh, what the heck, here’s how it all breaks down: Ginnifer Goodwin goes on a date with Kevin Connolly and thinks he’s all into her, even though he’s pining after his friend, Scarlet Johansson. But she’s enamoured with Bradley Cooper, only he happens to be married to Jennifer Connelly (who works with Ginnifer). Also thrown in for kicks is Jennifer Aniston, who works with Gin & Jen at an ad agency (?) and who has been living with Ben Affleck for 7 years or something; she wants to get married, but he apparently doesn’t believe in marriage. Also, Drew Barrymore is a friend to ScarJo, and she is involved with her own romantic dilemmas, but those mostly take place offscreen.  Oh, and one day when Ginnifer is stalking Kevin, she winds up baring her soul to Justin Long, the owner of the bar Kevin frequents and who also happens to be Kevin's roommate!  He winds up taking a shining to Ginnifer and decides to give her the hard "he's just not that into you" speech, and winds up being her guy guru for the majority of the film (until they wind up falling in love, which isn't a spoiler, because I trust you have all seen a romantic comedy before, and see above about not reinventing the wheel). So an incestuous little web is woven (maybe these people would have better romantic luck if they branched out a little...), and the general idea is that everyone is pining after someone and even the married people aren’t that happy (perhaps because the so-called proposal was really an ultimatum of the "either we get married or we break up" variety.  Romance!), so really the movie is just all about the pitfalls of navigating the world of romance when the other sex is involved. It’s the age old issue of men and women not communicating effectively with one another and having disparate expectations of the other person.  And also the idea that you can't control anyone other than yourself, and people don't change unless they want to (and maybe not even then). Now, I’ve actually read the book He’s Just Not That Into You, and I know it has caught a bit of flack for some of its ideas. I am not claiming that this book is always 100% correct, that there aren’t exceptions to the rule, but most of what the book says really IS true. You see, so many women do make up crazy excuses for men they’ve gone on a single date with (or sometimes no dates with), trying to explain away their “odd” behavior. Many women make up preposterous reasons for why he hasn’t called for another date, why he hasn’t asked her out for a date in the first place, why he hasn’t kissed her… when Occam’s Razor would have us believe that the simplest explanation is generally the one that is correct, women go out of their ways to contort things to keep hope alive, when really, there was no hope in the first place. I know, because I have been there and done that. I have friends who have been there and done that (while I cheered them on, assuring them that of course they were pretty and smart and funny and OF COURSE he liked them and would call them, he was just too shy/too swamped with work/too whatever, but it was obvious he was into them and it would all work out)… when really the easiest explanation for why a guy isn’t calling you and asking you out or trying to have sex with you or is married to someone else is that he’s just not interested in you. It’s really that simple! If you really want to spend time with someone, you will. People just don’t go around denying themselves like that. Obviously there are some exceptions: some guys really are very shy and insecure and have a hard time asking a woman out, and some guys really have just gotten out of a long relationship and just aren’t ready to jump back in (which really means they’re not that interested in you… for now)… but it’s a mistake to assume that that’s the rule rather than the exception. I liked that the movie points that out. I personally didn’t have a problem with the movie showing women doing stupid things or accepting/giving stupid advice, because I’ve seen it all happen in real life. Apart from the overjustifications, I’ve never understood why women pursue married men without realizing that if he cheats FOR you, he’ll probably cheat ON you. It was a really aggravating scene, but there is a moment when ScarJo is lamenting how she can’t be with Bradley Cooper because he’s already married, and then Drew Barrymore whips out a story (or chestnut, as Tony would call it) about her dad knowing a man who was married but who then met another woman who he just knew was the love of his life… so he divorced his first wife and married the other woman and now they’ve been married for 20 years! Yay! Happy ending! No. Stop telling those stories. They are terrible and awful, and the idea that “you shouldn’t let being married stop you if you meet the love of your life” is terrible. Ideally you should only be marrying the love of your life… what are you doing getting married otherwise? But really what I liked that the movie did (and I didn’t expect it to go there), was that it acknowledges that there are no foolproof rules you can follow, that there are exceptions… that the behavior men use to express their interest or lack thereof is often the same behavior women use. That you can pursue a man if you want to, and maybe it will even work out.  Put down the dating handbooks and actually go out and live your life.  It’s important to put yourself out there, but also to recognize a bad situation and to also acknowledge that it’s not the end of the world if someone winds up being not interested in you in a romantic way. Life goes on and rather than clinging on to that unfulfilling situation, you’re better off seeking greener pastures. So, as I said, it’s not a game changer, but I kind of wish it were. If only more women would stop agonizing over mediocre dates and just move on, we’d be so much happier for it! Then again, the romantic comedy industry would probably be out of business… Rating: 3 out of 5

4 Comments

  1. 08/28/2009

    I’ve read the book and have seen the movie and quite frankly I totally agree with you. I thought the movie was going to be so bad that I made drinks with my sister so we could watch it at home and laugh at how lame this movie was going to be – but that was not the case. We wound up enjoying the movie and cringing at Ginnifer Goodwin’s character’s antics and feeling so badly for the two Jennifer characters. I think the reason I reacted to the movie is because I’ve either acted this way in relationships or have had friends act this way in relationships and the truth of the matter is that if a guy is not into you he will not call you. No matter how much you like him or how many excuses you make for him, he will not return your call unless he actually wants to. And you are so right, there are some shy guys out there who don’t call you back either, because they are just too shy. So, basically, you have a book and movie that pretty much sums up the fact that relationships are what they are – complicated if you make them that way by not communicating. All in all, a fun book and a fun movie to watch. Great post!!

  2. 08/28/2009

    Normally my litmus test of whether a movie is harmless or awful is whether I can actually make it through the first 10 – 15 minutes without wanting to slit my wrists. Made of Honor? Couldn’t do it. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past? I’d rather drink Draino. But this movie just wasn’t that bad! It’s not going to win the Nobel Prize for Film, but no one goes into these kinds of things hoping for that. You mostly just hope they’ll be watchable… and this was. So mission accomplished, I say!
    And yes to everything you say about crazy women antics. I’m not saying men don’t do stupid things, because obvi! But when it comes to dating, most ladies have the market cornered on the crazy.

  3. Kay
    08/31/2009

    I haven’t read the book, but I have seen the movie and my impressions are very similar to yours! I enjoyed it and I liked that it underlined the exceptions, too, and not just the “general rules”. It wasn’t a life-changing movie, but it certainly was a nice change of pace from the usual romantic comedies.

  4. 08/31/2009

    @ Kay: I’m glad we’re agreed on this one! It did feel a little more thoughtful than your run of the mill rom com!

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