He's Just Not That Into You
Some women like movies about relationships; some don't. Drew Barrymore does. Her Flower Films production company produced He's Just Not That Into You, a funny, thoughtful take on the 2004 self-help book of the same name written by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. Directed by Ken Kwapis (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, He Said She Said), Barrymore plays Mary, an ad rep for Baltimore's gay paper (get it? Mary?). Yeah, HJNIY's love, loss, and conversation takes place in Baltimore's tony rowhouses, slick lofts, and cobblestones, although you might not recognize much beyond the Brewer's Hill neon sign, bottles of Natty Boh, and a random City Paper mug.
Mary is friends with Anna (Scarlett Johansson), a shallow blond singer with a penchant for unavailable men. Anna meets and likes Ben (Bradley Cooper), who is married to Janine (Jennifer Connelly), who works with Beth (Jennifer Aniston), who is in a committed relationship with Neil (Ben Affleck), Ben's coworker. Janine and Beth also work with Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin). Although they're all floating in some sort of self-actualizing fog, Gigi is the one searching for the reason she's single, even after going on a date with Conor (Kevin Connolly), who buys ads from Mary. Conor's buddy Alex (Justin Long) befriends Gigi and translates--straight up, no chaser--the language of men.
Gigi takes it all in and, although resistant at first, runs with it. Instead of hours by the phone waiting for a call that never comes, she drinks tea and reads on a Saturday night. Still not willing to wait for direct signage, she even misconstrues Alex's actions during a party he throws, and leans in for a kiss after cunt-blocking a beauty off his couch. That's one in HJNIY's collection of dovetailing stories.
The strong and handsome ensemble cast here never astounds with their acting: Goodwin is cheerfully adorable and bright, Long is sarcastically dry, Barrymore confused and cute, Aniston businesslike, Affleck looks depressed, Cooper is charmingly manipulative, etc. Jennifer Connelly does a solid job as a pained wife looking for satisfaction in her marriage and, really, why would anyone renovate two connecting rowhouses if the bond wasn't going to last forever? And Johansson offers up a bombshell so morally wrong it makes hating her feel justified for once. HJNIY's delve into the territory of dating and mating isn't world-shattering, but it is entertaining and, although almost too good looking, not too far away from our own relationship backyard.