By Clint Morris
Sex and the City. The Notebook. Beaches. The Devil Wears Prada. Titanic – They’re all their on my wife’s side – yes, we have sides; lovey-dovey movies on one side, Lethal Weapon movies on the other – of the DVD tower. And I’m guessing the female in your house has those titles readily-available – whether it is in a tower, bookcase, TV cabinet or sitting atop of the coffee table for even quicker access – too. Many of those are staples of the female recreational diet. If it makes them cry, if it makes me think, and if it makes them want to sip apple martinis together in a beer garden afterwards – it’s a winner.
You’ll be adding ”He’s Just Not That Into You” to your collection too, girls – and I’m assuming I’ll be forced (whether rope and masking tape is involved isn’t known at this stage) to watch it just as many times, if not more, than Jim Cameron’s sinking-boat weepie – after all, it includes a spoonful of everything you require from a good solid chick-flick : A cute cast (and what a cast this is! Mega-stars everywhere!), the pop ballad soundtrack (one particular tune is used to good effect towards the end), tales of love lost, love found, and love for sale, and predominantly, an amusing but somewhat distressing jab at men all over the world.
This is a film gangs of women will flock to, engross themselves in, and walk out ready to give their other halves a serve when they get home. The men in their lives mightn’t have done anything wrong, but that doesn’t mean they…we…. won’t suddenly be suspected of infidelity, deceitfulness, and only getting married because we felt we had to, by the end of the night.
Not surprisingly, it’s all based on a book by a female author and adapted to the screen by a female screenwriter. And in most respects, both seem to have a good handle on what makes the contemporary man run towards, or run from, a particular woman. Â Thankfully, it’s reigned in a little by it’s director – Ken Kwapis (License to Wed), whose possibly to credit for the men not coming off as creeps, but merely misunderstood and a little lost too.
A mass of interconnected characters, led primarily by the desperate and dateless Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin), weave in and out of the picture, all either stuck in, looking for, or leaving, a relationship.
In the case of Gigi, she’s constantly being either stood up, or used, by men who, for some inane reason (the girl is such a cutie!), don’t care to see her again after that initial date. In an effort to steer herself away from the hurts again, she seeks advice from relationship guru, Alex (Justin Long, in his first adult role), the slick manager of her local watering hole.
Meanwhile, Ben (Bradley Cooper, Will from “Alias”) is trying desperately hard not to cave into temptation and sleep with a red-hot-fox (Scarlett Johansson, of course) he met at a supermarket. But even if he does jump into a relationship with the woman, its unlikely his wife (Jennifer Connelly) will notice – she’s too preoccupied renovating the house.
Conor (Kevin Connolly, â€˜E’ from “Entourage”), one of the many men who stood poor Gigi up, is head over heels in love with the red-hot-fox from the previous paragraph – needless to say, she’s not as interested as he is.
Neil (Ben Affleck) is in a long-term relationship with Beth (Jennifer Aniston). Her work colleagues (Goodwin, Connelly — see how it all connects?) have said a couple of things around her that’s got her thinking he’s never going to marry her. He admits he isn’t interested in marriage, and they split. She returns to live at home to take care of her ill father (Kris Kristofferson).
And then there’s Mary (Drew Barrymore, also the film’s producer), who works in advertising, and spends most of her time chatting up guys on the internet – not knowing who she’s actually talking to, let alone whether she’s ever going to meet them.
Women will love this movie – it has everything for them in it, and I don’t doubt they’ll laugh, cry, and, well, hug by the time they’ve gathered in the toilets afterwards. Â Justin Long’s likely to become their unlikely new crush by the time he’s left the screen, Ben Affleck will win some hearts (it’s been a while since Affleck’s won anything, so that’s not bad), Scarlett Johansson may lose a few points because of how realistic she is playing the film’s token – excuse my French – slut, and Ginnifer Goodwin’s likely to kick Carrie Bradshaw off her perch (if even temporarily) as the all-too-real elucidation of the single woman who ultimately discovers how to handle herself, and the men in her life.
What I think the girls will also appreciate about the movie (guys will too for that matter, since they’ll be roped along to see it) is that it’s a lot smarter, and better executed, than a lot of those fluffy Sandra Bullock-style rom-coms that hit theatres this time each year. This one actually seems to take place on Earth as opposed to… well, whatever world Sandra Bullock would fall in love with Hugh Grant.
Even if you do wear the pants in the household (and do get a lashing from the wife for not proposing yet), you’ll enjoy the film – it’s full of great performances (there’s not a single weak link in the entire bunch), some very funny moments (some of the dialogue is priceless), and even a few relationship tips – if you care to listen.
Actually put this in expecting to listen to a terrific cast commentary – but nup, nothing of the sort on here. In fact, there is no commentary. Found that rather surprising – especially considering there were twenty-something players in the film… surely a couple of them could’ve given up their time to do a track!?
The Special Features instead consist only of a bunch of deleted scenes, with optional commentary by director Ken Kwapis, several rather ho-hum featurettes, and a piece where some of the characters from the film are interviewed via camcorder.