Written by Hombre Divertido
Yes, Hollywood can still make successful character-driven films with smart dialog. No animation, no special effects, no explosions, just a good story told well.
He’s Just Not That Into You, written by Abby Kohn & Marc Silverstein, hit theatres on February 6th, 2009, and was the surprise of the post Oscars/Pre-Summer Junk Dump Season. Since you may have missed it as few venture out into that barren cinematic wasteland that is February, now is the time to catch this fun flick on DVD.
This 129-minute romp includes a talented ensemble cast: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Connolly, Scarlett, Johansson, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Justin Long. Though slightly skewed too far to one side, “He’s Just Not That Into You” takes an in-depth look into relationships and respective success and failure. We want different things, with different people, and no one knows what the other is thinking. Should relationships be this hard? Should watching others struggle through them be this enjoyable? It is simply because, though we may not relate to all these people, we do relate to the situations. That is a reflection of good writing, and one might have to go back as far as The Big Chill to find people we enjoy this much who are talking about things we care about.
From a young woman out to find love being mentored by the all-knowing bar manager, to the puppy dog clinging to the hottie who really wants the married guy who thinks he may have made a mistake, to the guy who just doesn’t want to get married to the woman he loves, to the women in relationships they just can’t figure out due to a myriad of reasons including the growing relationship reliance on technology, this film has it all.
Someone should write a book. Oh, wait, they did. Inspired by a Sex in the City episode written by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo and based on their book, this film reaches levels of enjoyment that Carrie and her clan only wish they could bring to the big screen.
Yes, not all the performances are on the same level. Ginnifer Goodwin and Jennifer Connelly give performances that are limited in dimension through most of the film, and the transition made by Justin Long as he goes from the cool dating mentor, to frantic heartsick puppy may be beyond his young capabilities, but the majority of the cast give fine performances in what are all essentially supporting roles. In most cases we end up wanting more of the people we saw the least of, and less of those we saw the majority of.
Though there is little offered as Special Features in this new release, the additional scenes are surprisingly enlightening and entertaining. In most cases we can usually see why scenes are indeed left out of a film, and with He’s Just Not That Into You boasting a running time of over two hours, an argument can certainly be made for the cuts made, but the insights on parental influence found in these scenes were entertaining and well acted. Adding commentary by director Ken Kwapis, who did a fine job of utilizing his stacked cast within a well-paced tale, makes sitting through the extra scenes again well worth the investment.
Recommendation: This is a great film to watch with friends and a surprisingly pleasant addition to any collection. The story and the dialog are the stars here, and well worth your time.