What Men Mean
"He's Just Not That Into You" feels like an update on "When Harry Met Sally" with a storyline about the complexities of love, romance and dating. It even has a similar style as we have clearly defined chapters which are launched by a supposed documentary style interview as the chapter's subject is discussed. The difference is that rather than just one couple running the gamete of relationship issues this is a series of couples who are linked in a six degrees of separation type of way. All of which sounds quite good as we have elements of what it really means when a date says he will call and a relationship where one half doesn't want to get married. But it is also movies downfall because there is too much going on and whilst never complex ends up causing it to go on and on, losing momentum during the second half and struggling to keep your interest.
Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) is looking for love but nothing ever comes of her dates, or at least they never call her when they say they will which leads her to Alex (Justin Long) a bar owner who takes pity on her and explains what a date really means when he says he will call. Neil (Ben Affleck) and Beth (Jennifer Aniston) have been together for 7 years and Beth wants to get married but Neil can't see the point of marriage when you are in love. Ben (Bradley Cooper) and Janine (Jennifer Connelly) are married but when Ben meets Anna (Scarlett Johansson) he ends up falling for the flirtatious singer. And then there is Mary (Drew Barrymore) who is having just as many romantic issues especially in the new age of dating when you chat via message over the internet.
So as already mentioned "He's Just Not That Into You" definitely feels like a modern take on "When Harry Met Sally" as it tackles a wide range of relationship issues, a lot more than what was covered in the classic romantic comedy. And it also shares that same style with chapters which are supposed to cover certain relationship issues that are heralded in by a documentary style interview. But whilst it does cover a more varied collection of relationship issues it also causes plenty of problems because it causes a shift in tone between each one. There are the humorous misadventures into dating as Gigi learns from Alex when a date says he will call it means he won't, but then you get the more dramatic element of married Ben having an affair with the flirtatious Anna. It makes it a very uneven movie and whilst there is humour in these dramatic elements it makes it a little strange.
In fact it is a shame that the mix of humour and drama doesn't come off as the variety of relationship issues which "He's Just Not That Into You" covers which also include commitment issues and internet dating are all quite clever. And whilst obviously manufactured the way each of the characters are linked in some six degrees of separation manner adds a nice angle to things. It actually makes it a lot more interesting that Janine who is married to the cheating Ben works with Gigi and shares an office with Beth whose partner Neil doesn't want to get married despite having been together for 7 years.
But there is another issue and a big one at that because "He's Just Not That Into You" tries to cover so much with so many different people that it just goes on and on and on. At 129 minutes it is not the longest movie in the world but longer than it needs to be especially as the second half where all the situations and romantic difficulties have been set up it seems to lose momentum. It gets to the point that whilst the amusement of Alex giving Gigi relationship advice is fun the rest of it struggles to keep grasp of your attention and to be honest despite all the toing and froing much of what ends up happening is quite obvious. To put it simply whilst it amusingly opens your eyes to various realistic romantic issues it then goes for almost cliche endings to many of them, making much of what is raised during the story pointless.
Now I am not saying that this isn't true of real life but there is not a single ugly person in the entire movie, all the women are attractive as are the men and it makes it all a bit fantasy like. And because there are so many characters all getting their little relationship issue it's very hard for anyone to stand out especially when you have a cast which includes Bradley Cooper, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Connelly to name but a few. Although having said that the obvious friendship / relationship which forms between Ginnifer Goodwin as Gigi and Justin Long as Alex is one of the more memorable elements of the movie with plenty of humour as Alex teaches Gigi what men mean.
What this all boils down to is that "He's Just Not That Into You" is a good movie, it works as a nice up to date to "When Harry Met Sally" delivering a story about relationships in a similar style. It does suffer because there is just too many different couples and issues to deal with it causing it to drag on and to struggle to keep your attention during the second half. But with some amusing relationship revelations especially from Alex teaching Gigi what men mean when they say call me it does manage to entertain.