Matthew Lickona 1 p.m., Oct. 21
He's Just Not That into You
- Rated PG-13 | 2 hours, 9 minutes
- Official website
As an explanation of romantic incompatibility, the catchphrase title is stunningly unilluminating, no matter which of its six words is stressed. (On screen, the third one stands out in green from the white of the rest, but that seems an arbitrary reading.) Satisfied with the what and incurious about the why, it tends to slam the door on further discussion. The screen treatment of Greg Behrendt’s and Liz Tuccillo’s best-selling advice book, illustrated by way of a fictitious mating game for five women and four men, is similarly incurious. It’s … just … not … that … into… anybody. Its objects of study remain light on personalities, preferences, professions, particulars of any type. The stubborn superficiality, even so, puts up no impenetrable barrier to enjoyment. The filmmakers grapple with real and eternal and universal issues, in precisely the same sense that their puppets, the characters, grapple with them: the transmission and interpretation of signs and signals, the exercise of power and will, the preservation of self, the hope of happiness. Ken Kwapis, while not a director of impressive imagination, is an efficient traffic cop, maintaining good spacing and smooth flow; and his ace cinematographer, John Bailey, oils up the action in luscious, flattering, sunsetty pinks and oranges. There are plainly too many characters, too uneven in numbers, for happy endings to be arranged across the board; and such arrangements are tricky enough to be not readily apparent from the start. As far as they can be made, they fall well short of Jane Austen, but they nevertheless are deftly brought off, and they offer, for the susceptible, a couple of squeal-with-delight climaxes. Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Ginnifer Goodwin, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Affleck, Kevin Connolly, Bradley Cooper, Justin Long. 2009.
- "Human Enough" • February 11, 2009