Dating is, perhaps, the oldest game there is. We all play it at some point, devoting countless hours and resources to it, only to fail a majority of the time. We enlist the help of others—friends, books, websites, seminars, etc.—but even with such help we still end up utterly lost. There doesn’t seem to be a fixed set of rules, and when we think we’ve found a set, countless exceptions pop up and throw said “rules” out the window. Aiding and abetting our frustrated attempts are well-meaning friends who encourage us through assurances of our likability, our attractiveness, the other person’s stupidity, etc. So why do we continue to play this game? We play in hopes of finding that ever-elusive thing called love.
It is into this eternal fracas that the filmmakers of He’s Just Not That Into You cast their audience. This is the story of nine intertwining lives, each person’s tale adding another layer to the complexity of relationships that we all encounter day to day. This film boasts an all-star cast (including Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Connelly, Drew Barrymore, etc.) and, for the most part, does not disappoint. It is charming, funny, dramatic, shocking, and incredibly honest—a rare find in a “romantic comedy” genre so often riddled with puerile vapidity.
Though a story of nine lives, the central story guiding the film is that of Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin), a hopeless romantic who spends much of her time pining by a phone hoping her latest date will call. As tends to happen in such circumstances, Gigi is patronized and coddled by her girlfriends who attempt to assuage her fears of being rejected and alone. Then Gigi meets Alex (Justin Long), a straight-shooting bar manager who opens Gigi’s eyes to the difference between what men tell her and what they really mean. This includes the shocking reality that sometimes guys just aren’t into the girls they go on dates with. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this as everyone can’t be “the One,” it’s just a fact that needs to be accepted and dealt with.
The rest of the film deals primarily with stereotypes: the obsessive-compulsive wife, the pompous jackass who finds it hard to believe that marriage means he can only sleep with one person for the rest of his life, the sultry libertine who lures him away, the guy who “doesn’t believe in marriage,” the woman who’s been with him for nearly a decade hoping he’ll change his mind, and of course those who are looking for love in all the wrong places/faces/online profiles. But even though these characters are stereotypes, they are believable and done very well. All of us know people exactly like the ones portrayed on screen and so we are able to connect with, and probably even empathize with, what is transpiring before our eyes.
All in all, this film is quite enjoyable and I appreciate the honest way in which relationships are portrayed by the filmmakers. It’s refreshing to see a “chick flick” which actually has some basis in reality and does not fit the typical “girl meets guy, they fall in love, fight and break up, get back together, and live happily ever after” formula that typifies the genre. Inevitably, some will not like what they see on screen and will claim it’s too harsh on certain types of people. My only response to that would be: the truth sometimes hurts.
The Blu-ray disc is presented in full 1080p in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The picture is excellent and really brings out the vibrant colors used throughout the film. The audio is Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and is very crisp. This is mostly a talking movie, so it’s hard to really evaluate the sound, but I have absolutely no complaints about the quality.
There are a number of special features included on the Blu-ray disc. These include deleted scenes with commentary by the director, a featurette on translating the book into the film, and an interesting look into how film directors stage such seemingly extemporaneous scenes as phone calls. The most interesting special feature for me personally are six mini-interviews with the characters of the film showing how their lives have changed since the conclusion of the film. Very interesting way to continue the story and brings a further sense of realness to the lives of the characters.