‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ movie review: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston in ensemble rom-com

Sitcom-level material bolstered by a likable cast, Ken Kwapis’ He’s Just Not That Into you is surprisingly watchable and refreshingly inoffensive compared to like-minded recent films The Women and Sex and the City: The Movie

Still, it’s no great shakes, and a 129-minute runtime asks a lot of the audience; this isn’t exactly an Altman-like ensemble. Filler material showcasing ‘real’ people in faux-documentary scenes should have been the first thing to go. 

The title sums up He’s Just Not That Into You as a variety of female characters struggle to understand why their male counterparts don’t want to be with them. 

Which is something male viewers should be able to relate to: who would want to marry Jennifer Aniston, or remain faithful to Jennifer Connelly, or have a fling with Scarlett Johansson, or go out with Ginnifer Goodwin? 

Beth (Aniston) has been together with beau Neil (Ben Affleck) for years, but he’s never popped the question; he just doesn’t believe in marriage, and when push comes to shove it forces a split. 

Beth’s colleague Gigi (Goodwin) can’t seem to get a guy to go out with her on a second date, despite a little stalking, but she gets some advice on men from friendly bartender Alex (Justin Long); of course, she starts to develop feelings for Alex along the way. 

Beth and Gigi’s other colleague, Janine (Connelly), is successfully married to Ben (Bradley Cooper). Ben however, has his doubts, and half-starts something with pretty young yoga instructor Anna (Johansson); he also might be smoking, which is even worse. 

Meanwhile, Anna’s graphic friend Mary (Drew Barrymore) can’t seem to find a man in this age of MySpace and instant messaging until she sets her sights on realtor client and Anna’s lover/friend Conor (Kevin Connolly). 

It’s all TV-level situation comedy, but at least it’s a decent sitcom, on the level of an episode of Friends: light and painless and pleasing to the eyes (Aniston, and particularly, Johansson, have never looked better). 

Goodwin is extraordinarily likable here, overcoming her flighty and obsessive character and creating someone we actually care about; this should be a breakout role for the young star. 

He’s Just Not That Into You is pleasant enough to merit a recommendation for rom-com fans, and at the very least, doesn’t travel the same tired road of your standard fare. 

Still, Kwapis’ film is visually dull, the pacing is off, and there’s nothing new here: despite an impressive cast, other audiences would be best advised to stay away.

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Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

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