In a much similar vein with “Love, Actually,” I found myself liking “He’s Just Not That Into You” a bit more because if my memory serves me correctly, it features more ‘real’ depiction of human relationship than the ones shown in the former. Even so, most will find that this film is less grandeur than the former but as I’ve said before, I love my portion of drama to have as less saccharine as possible and this film has a stronger suit in that not-so-fictious and less-sugar-y love story kind of thing.
“He’s Just Not That Into You” is multi-plot, multi-faceted love stories with interconnecting characters that eventually, directly or not, knows one another. There’s the story of Gigi who constantly tries to read the signs and mulling over whether the man she has just dated has a further interest on her or not until she met Alex with whom she was comfortable to be around with. This story takes most of the plot and it was the most sugary story with a most-predictable end. Thus, for me, it was the least interesting story. And then there’s Beth and Neil, who has been living together for seven years. Beth wanted marriage, and Neil didn’t believe in one. Also sugar-y, also predictable. The third story is my favorite so I’m going to put in on a separate sub-section. Finally, the last story, which is also the shortest implores Mary whose idea of “having coffee with someone” is to engage on an iChat session with another while each was having a cup of coffee. The last story felt like an afterthought. Cut it entirely, saves some running time, and it won’t affect the outcome of this film.
My favorite story, which I took because it’s more real and it’s more painful than the others, involves a four-sided love. Ben (Bradley Cooper) was married to Janine (Jennifer Connelly). Seems like a great couple on a great voyage. But things when awry when Ben met the always attractive Scarlett Johansson (her character name is Anna, by the way) and soon they went into that ‘other’ territory. Anna on the other hand is seeing Connor. This story, along with the convincing performances carried by the actors, strike me rich. It’s ugly, it’s unsettling, and yet it’s also beautiful because you know what? It’s real. I was hooked to this story right from the start. First, because of the presence of Scarlett J. but later, because I care to what was going to happened to the characters while the rest of the other stories unveiled themselves as your standard three acts love story imbued with a lot of (artificial) sweeteners and an ending that screams for itself.
Because this film runs a very similar note with “Love, Actually” the comparison are inevitable and here’s what I thought about it. The foursome love of Ben/Janine/Anna/Connor blows away any of the subplots depicted in this film or the other one. However, the ending, some people would probably love the one used in “Love, Actually” because it’s uplifting, and gave a sense of ‘done.’ Sure, this film also has some of it’s uplifting moment, but the one that strikes me best is how the film choses to end the foursome love to each of the characters involved in it, and rather than giving it a sense of ‘done,’ it gives a sense of an ended chapter. Once you flipped the page, another chapter waited to begin anew. If only this sole story expanded into a full film, then I wouldn’t have to suffer all the saccharine that accompanies the other three stories. But hey, beggar can’t be chooser.
My rating: **1/2 / **** Good enough, with one exceptional sub-story that involves one of the best performances I’ve seen this year (Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Connelly). It’s no tear-jerker but it has its moment and the particular sub-story which I loved best are frown inducting (in a positive note).