February 23, 2009

He's Just Not That Into You: A Masochist's Dream

So I finally saw this movie. I didn't want to, really. But I kept hearing all these varying opinions from the dating blog I read to my own girlfriends qualifying statements, "Well, I wasn't really a fan, but the Jennifer Aniston/Ben Affleck story line was good." I thought, well, if one part of the movie's good, then maybe I'll like. Worst line of rationale ever. Seriously. If one fifth of a movie is good, then I should only have to pay $1.50, or whatever one-fifth of a movie ticket is. I was pretty excited when I arrived at the theatre because the screen was extra big and spectacular. However, this turned out to be a ginormous palette on which I could have my dating failures essentially rubbed in my face. For most of the movie, I sat there relating what was happening in the movie to my own experiences (it's my M.O.) and finding myself falling into a deep cycle of despair because I had committed a lot of the faux pas mentioned and that must explain why I am single. I know that it is simplistic to make that assumption, but the movie forces itself down the throats of it's viewers in a very pointed way that I found it challenging to separate myself from the storyline at several points. My summation of the movie is this: a big tangle of contradicting dating opinions are forced on you in such a way that you begin to experience feelings of claustrophobia and symptoms of drowning in your own thoughts stimulated by this deluge of dating theories. Here are my main contentions with (Dr. Phil session) movie:

1) The title - This is one of the wordiest title in recent recollection (I was going to say EVER). Also, I felt like I was personally insulting the girl who sold me my ticket at the theatre. "Um, One for He's Just Not That Into You." She has to be told that the men in her life don't really care for every time someone buys a ticket. It's like bells and angel wings. Except, now it's tickets and romantic rejection.

2) Ginnifer Goodwin is an amazing actress and in this movie reduces her to a weak, crumbling bundle of nerves and paranoia that rose to such heights that I felt she would be better off with a measure of Valium in lieu of Vodka.

3) While the Ben Affleck/Jennifer Aniston story was one of the sweeter, more realistic stories, the two actors had absolutely no chemistry. I found it weird that they should be in the same room, let alone in a relationship.

4) I think Jennifer Aniston was miscast in this role because she came off as just pathetic and hard in a way that does not bring out her best qualities. She's America's Sweetheart and therefore, does best in roles that accentuate her brilliant smile and bubbly nature.

5) Bradley Cooper played one of the worst d-bags I've seen on screen in a while. I really like Bradley Cooper as an actor (especially when he was on Alias), but he's going to run the risk of being typecast as a perennial jerkface extraordinaire. He was so horrible in the movie because he didn't really become prostrate in contrition for his transgressions. He played himself more as being a "good guy" who was caught up in some bad behavior but since he wasn't getting caught or being directly reprimanded, he wouldn't change his behavior. He is a variation on Mr. Second Anonymous, with whom I had a comment fight on a blog I read, 20-nothings.

6) This has been said by The Times' Manohla Dagis, but the men in this movie do not equal the women in terms of intellect, emotion, and physical attraction (with the possible exception of Ben Affleck). I am not sure if that was on purpose, as a sort of subversive commentary on the emotional and introspective superiority of women and that these men will never live up to our expectations (spare me the talk about how our expectations are too high). Kevin Connolly, while funny, is a little runt whose better served as the girl crazy sidekick (see him as Finn in The Notebook). Justin Long is a lame, quirky dude who should stick to eccentric roles like when he was on NBC's Ed (he also seemed really bored in this role).

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