I hope everyone had a happy and fun Labor Day Weekend! I know my wife did... ;)
Anyway, I'd like to talk about the film He'sJust Not That Into You, directed by Ken Kwapis. Now, I saw it in theaters, and I LOVED IT! Unfortunately, it's a film my wife hates. :( You see, in our family, I'm usually the one into so called 'chick flicks' while she's into the whole 'bad-boy/action flick' genre. That isn't to say I don't like a good action movie (I AM a guy, after all), but I just happen to enjoy other fair as well.
Fair warning: There WILL BE SPOILERS! If you haven't seen the movie, and you care about such things, turn back now!
I mean it.
Seriously, don't scroll down.
Okay. I warned you!
Let's talk a little about the movie. You may not know, but He'sJust Not That Into You is based on a book by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. While the book is a collections of advice the authors have given to people over the years, the story line for the film doesn't actually exist within its pages. I found this a little disappointing when I first read it (I saw the movie 1st).
He's Just Not That Into You follows 9 people as they grasp with love and relationship challenges in the new millennium:
- Gigi – A young woman looking for love in all the wrong faces.
- Connor – Hopelessly in love with a woman who has most definitely 'Friend-Zoned' him.
- Anna – Said woman, who happens to meet the man of her (not so sweet) dreams... while she wins a cooler.
- Ben – (Un)-Happily married to a woman who doesn't hate him (not to worry though, she will).
- Alex – Connor's friend who manages a pub, gives (awful) dating advice, and winds up falling in love with one of our ladies.
Ben AffleckNeil – Ben's best friend who doesn't believe in marriage (and yes, that does come back to bite him on the gluteus maximus). Jennifer AnistonBeth – Neil's girlfriend of 7 years... and she DOES want to get married. No trouble there, right? ;)
- Janine – Ben's wife. DO NOT light up a cigarette around her... just sayin'.
- Mary – Anna's friend who works in marketing for Blade magazine and barely knows Connor. She's probably the most peripheral character in the story. She might have 10 minutes of total screen time in the entire film.
All of these people are connected to one another, almost like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, although one could make the argument that Gigi is the main character (most of the movie follows her, and nearly all of the characters connect to her, either directly or indirectly).
I find the film to be an interesting look at dating and marriage for my generation. While most of the characters are like-able, they all have some flaw that makes them seem more real. Gigi, for example, is a little neurotic, but I, even as a guy, genuinely feel for her plight in trying to find 'The One.' (My one may HATE me, but we love each other. ;) )
One thing that probably turns off a lot of viewers (which I actually think works really well in the film) is the continuous shifting from one character/group to another. It's usually swift, but only Gigi really has a lot of time spent on her dating plight. All of the others pair off, in one way or another, either as acquaintances, neighbors, friends, or lovers. There just isn't much meat to their story lines.
Gigi's on a journey most of us have been, at one time or another in our lives: Finding our match. Alex comes along, and changes her entire outlook, which, in turn, causes her to influence her friend, Beth. Meanwhile, Janine's husband, Ben, starts having an affair with Anna, who is friends-with-(occasional)-benefits with Connor, who started everything off on a date with Gigi! It's like an episode of Days of our Lives!
I feel that the best plot line in the film, the relationship between Neil (Ben Affleck) & Beth (Jennifer Aniston), doesn't get the screen time it deserves. Their's is, by far, my favorite story, but it gets short-changed, often in favor of Ben & Anna's affair. In fact, I so dislike Ann and Ben's scenes, that, on re-watches, I often fast forward through them. There just so BORING!
Overall, the movie tells a compelling story about the struggle many of us face, or have faced, in finding love. There are challenges, pitfalls, and triumphs. Some of the characters get a happily ever after, and some don't. I think that's a good thing, at least, in the context of this movie. There's always tomorrow.
I heartily recommend this film. My wife, however, would rather spend the 2 hours watching paint dry... or Arrow. Whatever.