Saturday, October 3, 2009

"He's Just not that into You"

In an effort to dissuade me from keeping this movie on my Netflix queue, my daughter found a negative review by Richard Roeper and printed it out for me. I wanted to give the film a chance and I got it anyway.

Roeper must be in a long-term marriage, because he seems totally unable to empathize with the problems of single people, as depicted in this film. I will refute his many objections.

He objects that the characters are played by good-looking actors, so their problems therefore are not believable. Does Roeper not understand that being good-looking does not mean you will have no trouble with relationships? Give me a break.

He objects that the women are "clingy and often desperate". But doesn't this describe many women we all know? Of course it does.

The narrator, played by Ginnifer Goodwin, is obsessed with trying to figure out what every little thing means that a man says or does when with her. This does get a tad annoying, but the movie shows a capacity for growth in that she does eventually make a move on the man she really likes and does end up with him in a successful relationship. And some self-awareness is good; my own history shows a singular lack of self-awareness. Twice I have been asked "are you married", not realizing till later the intent behind this. And twice men have asked if I wanted to "come home for a nitecap", and I failed to realize the import of this till much later.

Roeper objects that "virtually everyone in the movie seems to be living in fabulous, spacious lofts, even though they have seemingly average jobs". First, Roeper doesn't know that the rent on these would be high-dollar, as the neighborhood is not really defined. Second, the jobs are not all "average". And third, who cares? What's the harm in showing an attractive and interesting setting for the homes of these characters.

Roeper objects that the women sit around at work and talk about personal things, but never seem to actually work. First, we all have personal conversations at work. And second, what would Roeper do, have the director clutter up the movie, which Roeper already says is too long, with scenes showing the boss yelling at them to get back to work? Again, give me a break!

The real drawback of the movie is it attempts to do too much, to show us too many characters. It is hard to develop a caring attitude towards any of them, when the movie keeps jumping around from one character to the next. In particular, it is hard to see what the Drew Barrymore character is doing in this movie.

The characters border on the cartoonish, but the one who is the most unlikeable and cartoonish is played by Jennifer Connelly, who Roeper singles out for praise, calling her "particularly strong"!

A better movie, in my opinion, would have been to focus on the Justin Long-Ginnister Goodwin relationship, and have the others come in only as they relate to that main relationship. This would allow us to devlop a caring about those two characters, and then enjoy the payoff of seeing them get together in the end. After all, many men and women go through a period of "delayed adolseence" before growing into adulthood. This is essentially what these two characters do, they grow into repsonsible adults from the adolescent clingy and desperate woman and cavalier and uncaring man that they are at the beginning of the film.

1 comment:

Philip Weaver said...

I get really annoyed when characters appear to live beyond their means. I can usually get past it if it doesn't conflict with the plot, but I can name several movies/shows in which the way the characters lived was inconsistent with the plot, and this really affected my ability to enjoy those movies/shows.