He’s Just Not That Into You (2009)

(On TV, June 2015)  In-between this and What to Expect When you’re Expecting, there may be enough of a corpus to realize that ensemble comedies based on best-selling non-fiction advice books are a mixed bag of good and less-good things.  He’s Just Not That Into You means to be a look at modern relationships, and particularly how some people delude themselves into romantic delusions.  As such, it follows a linked group of people at various stages of their relationships.  The biggest draw of the film is the mostly-stars casting, giving small and not-so-small roles to actors such as Jennifer Connelly, Bradley Cooper, Justin Long, Drew Barrymore, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Anniston, Scarlett Johansson… and yet, even alongside those names, it’s relatively less-known Ginnifer Goodwin who makes the strongest impression as a lost-struck single girl trying to navigate the shoals of modern dating.  As you’d expect, not every single story works, but what’s worse is that not every story tries for the same tone: Some couples are destined for eternal love, while others clearly aren’t… and other couplings are just messy.  And while the film does eventually try to get out of that mechanistic “rules of dating” mentality, it does spend a lot of time perpetuating them… and ends up in a tangle of romantic-comedy clichés along the way.  It sort-of-works in bits and pieces if you’re willing to give it a chance but otherwise He’s Just Not That Into You is a grab bag of short stories, some of them more enjoyable than others.

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