According to Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo's dinky 2004 relationship-advice book "He's Just Not That Into You," if a guy you're interested in won't call you, won't sleep with you, won't marry you in spite of years of dating or is already married to someone else, you should accept that he isn't really emotionally invested in you. It's time to move on.
The film adaptation, a sprawling, many-threaded series of stories that play out each of these dynamics in turn, has other advice: Fight with him. Cry. Chase him and humiliate yourself. Complain to some girlfriends. Consult one of the helpful, perky, sexless gay men who seem to be everywhere. And then back off for a while.
Chances are excellent that he'll come to his senses and become Just That Into You. After all, he's in a romantic comedy, right?
Until a rash of ridiculous happy endings takes all the bite out of the premise, "He's Just Not That Into You" has some fun with its bubble-gum tone. Like the book and the "Sex and the City" episode that inspired it, it sets out to soften its stinging message with a playful, lively approach. A wry opening montage pokes fun at the terrible relationship advice women give each other in the name of being supportive. In a series of brief interludes, supporting players talk directly to the camera about relationship mistakes. Director Ken Kwapis ("The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants") assembles the whole thing like a scrapbook full of bright, happy colors.
But before long, melodrama asserts itself.
Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin from "Big Love") is hoping that big things will come from a blind date with Conor (Kevin Connolly), but he hasn't called. He's too busy being hung up on his friend Anna (Scarlett Johansson), who's content to use and abuse him. Anna has just met and become obsessed with Ben (Bradley Cooper), a faithful but tempted man in a rocky marriage with Janine (Jennifer Connelly).
And to further complicate things, Anna's friend Mary (Drew Barrymore) is failing to find love through personal ads and phone messages. Meanwhile, Janine and Gigi work with Beth (Jennifer Aniston), who has been in a relationship with Neil (Ben Affleck) for seven years and is infuriated over his failure to pop the question.
Much as with "Closer," or other everything-is-connected movies like "Short Cuts" and "Crash," many of these individuals are linked in other ways, and their interactions further shape their relationship problems. In particular, Conor's friend Alex (Justin Long) becomes the voice of the book, patiently explaining to the embarrassingly desperate Gigi that she needs to stop chasing men who don't care about her and start paying attention to the obvious signs.
Problem is, nothing is obvious to the movie's bland, shrill women except that they aren't getting exactly what they want. Most of the guys -- Affleck in particular -- seem patient, good-natured and a little baffled by comparison. They just have interests beyond the immediate needs of their relationships, unlike their female analogues. Among the men, only Connolly is stuck pining after a love interest who isn't into him, and only he opens himself up to the kind of awkward, needy behavior common to the female cast. Some of the players comport themselves better than others -- Barrymore is sweetly wistful in her minor role, while Johansson, as a confident go-getter who sets out to steal her crush object rather than moon over him, is sexier than the whole cast put together.
But most of them come across as limp and whiny, or, in Goodwin's case, tacky and awful. And as the film ditches all pretense at handing out good advice, it barrels toward a conclusion where their selfish, immature or just plain silly choices are mostly rewarded.
In a summary at the end of their relationship manual, Behrendt and Tuccillo explain that you -- yes, you -- are not the exception to the rule, and you shouldn't hang around in a bad relationship, waiting for it to improve.
The film version isn't even subtle about contradicting this sensible approach in favor of a feel-good ending: One character actually burbles, "I'm the exception to the rule!" when she realizes that, contrary to all sense, the man who just wasn't that into her has magically come around. Granted, there's no reason people should be getting their relationship advice from a shallow romantic comedy. But there's no reason they should embrace its attempts to insult their intelligence, either.
Check out the trailer for 'He's Just Not That Into You'
He's Just Not That Into You MPAA rating: PG-13 (for sexual content and brief strong language).
Running time: 2:09.
Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin (Gigi); Jennifer Aniston (Beth); Jennifer Connelly (Janine); Scarlett Johansson (Anna).
Directed by Ken Kwapis; written by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein; edited by Cara Silverman; photographed by John Bailey; music by Cliff Eidelman; production design by Gae S. Buckley; produced by Nancy Juvonen. A New Line Cinema release.
"Slumdog Millionaire" Leads the Way
81st Academy Award Oscar Winners 2009
In much the same manner that the film captured the hearts of movie-goers, "Slumdog Millionaire" captured the hearts and votes of the Academy garnering 8 Oscars in total, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Sean Penn won his second Best Actor Academy Award for his role as Harvey Milk in the movie "Milk," while Kate Winslett won her first Oscar in the Best Actress category for he role as Hanna Schmitz in "The Reader."
Heath Ledger won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as the Joker in "The Dark Knight," posthumously. Ledger died on January 22, 2008 after an accidental drug overdose. Penelope Cruz won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Elena Maria in "Vicky Christina Barcelona."
"WALL-E" took home the Oscar for Best Animated Feature:
This year's top Academy Awards nominated film, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" with 13 Oscar nominations, won 3 Oscars (Achievement in Art Direction, Makeup & Visual Effects).
Recent Movie Reviews - Films in Theaters
Joaquin Phoenix plays Leonard who's in his 30s but living with his parents after a broken engagement, a bout of depression and a suicide attempt. His parents push him toward a nice Jewish girl (Vinessa Shaw), but he's drawn to a bubbly blond neighbor (Gwyneth Paltrow). The film is a small, delicate concoction of moods and moments, focused squarely on the talented Phoenix.
Directed by Bruce Hendricks, who also fashioned the recent Miley Cyrus 3-D concert movie, this ostensible concert documentary is awkwardly stitched together from candy-gloss arena concert footage and somewhat grimier-looking backstage/limo/hotel room moments. The Brothers come across more machine-tooled than homespun. Their grasps for authenticity -- they do write their own songs and play their instruments -- just feel like another layer of artifice, and their songs bleed together, one bouncing clap-along chorus to the next.
The International (2-1/2 Stars)
Clive Owen & Naomi Watts in the Movie The International
Director Tom Tykwer's thriller is all over the place, both geographically and in terms of audience satisfaction. Clive Owen plays an Interpol agent working with his ally in the New York DA's office (Naomi Watts) to bust a nefarious bank. Some of the set pieces are terrific, particularly the opening scene in Berlin and a shootout at the Guggenheim Museum, but getting in and out of such sequences is not the film's strong suit. Tykwer ("Run Lola Run") has a way with complex cinematic mayhem, but "International" is tripped up by klutzy, formulaic dialogue.
Confessions of a Shopaholic (1-1/2 Stars)
Isla Fisher & Hugh Dancy in the Movie Confessions of a Shopaholic
This thin, largely unfunny comedy marries lazy filmmaking with bad timing -- a recession probably isn't the right time for a movie about a woman whose passion is shopping for high-end clothes. Star Isla Fisher ("Wedding Crashers") is charming enough, but this material is so predictable and leaden that she has no prayer of keeping it afloat.
Friday the 13th (1-1/2 Stars)
Clive Jared Padalecki & Danielle Panabaker in the Movie Friday the 13th
Having endured a series of increasingly bizarre sequels, machete-wielding Jason Voorhees hits the reset button and starts anew -- Mickey Rourke-esque, if you will. This new "Friday the 13th," savvier and snappier than the 1980 original, is a needed return to simplicity: A diverse group of teens visits Camp Crystal Lake, where they engage in naughty behavior before being impaled. After years of "Hostel"-style torture, this straightforward arrow-through-the-eye-socket approach is almost refreshing.
The Class Movie Review
Michael Phillips reviews the Movie The Class
This fantastic film takes place in a working-class, multiethnic Parisian middle school, where an unruly world of conflict, frustration and joy comes to life. Francois Begaudeau plays a version of himself; he taught in a Paris middle school and wrote a book about it, and "The Class" distills that book into a year in the life of a teacher and his combative, highly stimulating students. A documentary approach is the key to the film's success, with real students playing characters, some based on themselves, some not. In French, with English subtitles.
Coraline Movie Review
Michael Phillips reviews the Movie Coraline
An intelligent preteen (Dakota Fanning) discovers a tiny door in the wall of her immense home that leads to a parallel universe offering a brighter, more inviting version of the same house, and her same parents. "Coraline" may not be for all tastes, and it's certainly not for all kids, given its macabre premise. But Henry Selick's film advances the stop-motion animation genre through that most heartening of attributes: quality. It pulls audiences into a meticulously detailed universe, familiar in many respects, menacing in others.
Fanboys Movie Review
Michael Phillips reviews the Movie Fanboys
This comedy follows a quintet of Star Wars fanatics on a 1998 journey from Ohio to their Holy Grail: George Lucas Skywalker Ranch in California, where they hope to bust into the joint and sneak a look at a work print of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. It all should have been wilder and funnier. For a comedy of fanboy insanity to fly, it has to be a little less beholden to the pop-culture phenoms it is satirizing, however affectionately.
He's Just Not That Into You Movie Review
Michael Phillips reviews the Movie He's Just Not That Into You
The film adaptation of Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo's 2004 relationship-advice book is a sprawling, many-threaded series of stories, most of which contradict the book's advice about moving on when facing a lack of commitment. Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Scarlett Johansson, Drew Barrymore and Ben Affleck head the cast of this romantic comedy, which has some fun with its bubble-gum tone until a rash of ridiculous happy endings takes all the bite out of the premise
Pink Panther 2 Movie Review & Trailer
Michael Phillips reviews the Movie Pink Panther 2
This disposable Pink Panther sequel follows the 2006 remake and once again features Steve Martin as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau. The cast (which also includes Emily Mortimer, Andy Garcia, John Cleese and Lily Tomlin) sprints way out ahead of the material. Most of it would work twice as well if the filmmakers had eased up and allowed the performers to interact -- to do their thing in medium shot, without a lot of pushy close-ups and overemphasis, so that their bodies might inform what their faces are up to.
Push Movie Review
Michael Phillips reviews the Movie Push
Psychic experiments started by the Nazis are being continued by the U.S. government, and so a telekinetic (Chris Evans) and a clairvoyant (Dakota Fanning) must recover a powerful experimental drug in the jam-packed streets of Hong Kong before a government agent (Djimon Hounsou) gets his hands on it. Director Paul McGuigan ("Lucky Number Slevin") has never been keen on plot logic, and that might be fine if his inscrutable film offered anything other than lush images of Hong Kong
Taken Movie Review
Michael Phillips reviews the Movie Taken
Liam Neeson plays a former CIA spook whose clandestine career bled into his home and led to a divorce. After traffickers kidnap his daughter in Europe, our hero has 96 hours to save her, and he wastes no time karate-chopping his way through every mime and baguette peddler in France.
The movie overheats quickly, but Neeson and the filmmakers manage to make the Charles Bronson-style simplicity work.
Renee Zellweger plays a hotshot Miami businesswoman whose firm assigns her to oversee a workforce reduction at a food-processing plant in New Ulm, Minn. Easygoing Harry Connick Jr. plays the union rep.
The Uninvited Movie Review
Michael Phillips reviews the Movie The Uninvited
After a stay in a psychiatric clinic, teenager Anna (Emily Browning) returns home, with her father (David Strathairn) now engaged to the caregiver (Elizabeth Banks) who oversaw Anna's invalid mother in her last days, before a fatal fire. Anna attempted suicide after the tragedy, and now she's plagued by visions, one of which appears to be her late mother, crying out for revenge.
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Academy Award Oscar Nomination for Best Foreign Film
An extraordinary achievement and a true visual feast, Ari Folman's animated "Waltz With Bashir" is a detective story as well as an moral inquiry into the specific horrors of one war (the 1982 Lebanon War), and one man's buried memories of it.
Outlander Movie Review & Trailer
Michael Phillips reviews the Movie Outlander
Viking warriors and a stoic intergalactic traveler (Jim Caviezel) join forces in the eighth century to combat an enormous beetle with whiplash stingers.
- Paul Blart: Mall Cop
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- No Country wins Best Picture, Best Director. Daniel Day-Lewis wins best actor for his role in "There Will Be Blood". Javier Bardem, Tilda Swinton Win Supporting Role Academy Awards, Ratatouille awarded Oscar for Best Animation Feature