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Originally published February 5, 2009 at 2:47 PM | Page modified February 5, 2009 at 2:48 PM


Movie review

"He's Just Not That Into You" is nice looking, but not a keeper

Maybe "He's Just Not That Into You" because you are like one of the whiny women in this movie. A review by Seattle Times movie critic Moira Macdonald.

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie review 2.5 stars

"He's Just Not That Into You," with Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Connolly, Bradley Cooper, Ginnifer Goodwin, Scarlett Johansson, Kris Kristofferson, Justin Long. Directed by Ken Kwapis, from a screenplay by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, based on the book by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. 132 minutes. Rated PG-13 for sexual content and brief strong language. Several theaters.

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"He's Just Not That Into You" unfolds in a world in which all women want to get married, all men don't want to get married (or, if married, want to cheat), and everyone has fabulous apartments with exposed-brick walls. It's a pretty place, and often a witty one — but these aren't people, they're pages from self-help manuals. Jennifer Aniston's character, for example, gets approximately 30 seconds of screen time before she starts nagging Ben Affleck to marry her, which she then spends most of the movie doing. It's hard to care about whether these people hook up or not, when we have no idea who they are.

Directed by Ken Kwapis from Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein's screenplay (based on, yes, a self-help book about dating), the film intertwines the stories of five Baltimore women. Three work together at a spice company (Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Ginnifer Goodwin — call them the Spice Girls); one works for a newspaper (Drew Barrymore); one teaches yoga (Scarlett Johansson). But what they do, or what they like, or really anything at all about them, doesn't matter here: What matters is men, and how they never call back, and how they don't tell you what they mean. The women respond by being cutely stalkerish (Goodwin), saying "He's totally going to call you" a lot (Connelly), getting involved with a married cad (Johansson), whining (Aniston) and ... well, poor Barrymore doesn't get much to do, but she's her usual adorable self doing it.

Though it's overlong (five stories here are too many), there's much to enjoy in "He's Not That Into You." Goodwin (TV's "Big Love") is an inspired screwball comedian; on dates, her fast-talking Gigi is perpetually lit-up, busily laughing in a way that's just a little bit scary. Many of the film's punctuating talk-to-the-camera monologues (like those from the early seasons of "Sex and the City") are funny, particularly one in which a young woman delivers a heated rant against Caller ID: "A lot and lot of years, people have been answering the phone and not knowing who it is, and nobody ever died from this!" And any movie in which Barrymore purses her lips and looks befuddled by modern life is worth a look, at least.

But really, is this what we want in our romantic comedies? Is it too much to hope for smart, dimensional female characters who have more to them than marriage lust (see also — or rather, don't — "Bride Wars")? Are we going to settle for the reality of movies like this one, or hold out for a dream? I'm waiting. Pass the popcorn; it could be a while.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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