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Movie Review: He's Just Not That Into You

Self-help film? Comedy? It's 'Just Not' either
He's Just Not That Into You
Genres: Comedy, Romance
Running Time: 129 min
Release Date: 2009-02-06
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By "Lawrence Toppman"
The Charlotte Observer

I have found the place I want to work if this newspaper gig falls through: New Colony Spice, a small spice distribution company that manages to keep an in-house stable of copywriters – all of them sexy women who do nothing but talk about their love lives and occasionally take a spontaneous personal day when they get depressed.

Janine (Jennifer Connolly) suspects husband Ben (Bradley Cooper) may be losing interest but tries to renovate a house with him. Beth (Jennifer Aniston) dotes on Neil, who returns her love but refuses to turn their live-in relationship into marriage. Gigi (Ginnifer “Don't Call Me Jennifer” Goodwin) sees a series of callous idiots before settling on Alex (Justin Long), a club manager with savvy advice about dating but no apparent carnal interest in her.

This would be more than enough material for any self-respecting romantic comedy-drama, but director Ken Kwapis and writers Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein think they're making the kind of statement that needs to be dragged out to 125 minutes.

So here comes bombshell blues singer Anna (Scarlett Johansson), who chases Ben with a view to breaking up his marriage. And here's Mary (Drew Barrymore), who pursues suitors in cyberspace while selling ads for a gay newspaper. (Why a gay newspaper? So she can get dating advice from her effete best friends, a Hollywood staple.)

This sludge, inspired by the book by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, draws the same tired conclusions we've seen for decades: Men are insensitive and/or deceptive dolts – until love straightens them out at once, of course – and committed monogamy has no meaning without a diamond hoop on the fourth finger.

There's something pathetic in seeing women between 35 and 40 (Barrymore, Aniston and Connolly) nattering on about guys as if they'd just gotten out of college. I think the movie intends to empower all of its female characters, but it ends up chaining them to stale, timeworn ideas.

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02/06/2009 - The Charlotte Observer - Lawrence Toppman

I have found the place I want to work if this newspaper gig falls through: New Colony Spice, a small spice distribution company that manages to keep an in-house stable of copywriters – all of them sexy women who do nothing but talk about their love lives and occasionally take a spontaneous personal day when they get depressed.

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