HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU

If modern dating is anywhere near as bleak as He’s Just Not That Into You portrays, there’s not a single compelling argument to be made against prostitution, celibacy, or the tight-lipped life of a monastery. Nothing survives – dating, courting, hooking up, marriage, even casual flirtation – and if the intent was to send all reasonable sorts scrambling for their masturbatory paraphernalia, then that’s about the only thing this excruciatingly overlong dirt nap handled with professional élan. It’s the cinematic equivalent of four long years in a college dorm, densely packed with your average bar scene, and jammed together with an additional unending phone call with the cheerleader of your choosing, all released into the bloodstream as a series of air bubbles aimed squarely at the heart. It’s not only one of the most depressing portraits of love ever released into a mainstream cinema, it’s gut-wrenchingly unwatchable to boot. Horrific need not be unpleasant, as many a relationship film suggests, but as everyone on tap for this lesson in masochism is thoroughly unlikable and dimwitted, yet ultimately rewarded, we’re not even granted the release of watching unhappiness drive the lot to an oversized garage teeming with carbon monoxide. Reprehensible loutishness, obsessive lunacy, and narcissistic preening not only survive unpunished, but are dismissed outright as mere trifles on the road to romantic entanglement. Love means never having to say you’re sane.

I also learned:

  • Ginnifer Goodwin is one of the cinema’s cutest offerings, with a smile that shockingly makes up for an unfortunately underdeveloped bosom. Here’s hoping she’s allowed to do more than drive away the male form with neediness, despair, and unrealistic expectations. I’m still torn between her and CNN’s Heidi Collins as the woman most likely to receive my soiled drawers in a battered FedEx box.
  • Scarlett Johansson’s tits, while marvelous in a way best described as Biblical, are still, several dozen movies in, unable to distract from her blindingly awful acting talents. This time, as Anna, she grates more than usual because she knowingly uses her charms to seduce a married man. Sure, I’d suckle Scarlett’s globes with all the enthusiasm of a starving African, but few things infuriate more than the sexy bitch who exploits the vulnerable and taken, rather than fucking the thousands of poor slobs who remain single. In my book, wanting to have it all is about the lowest form of evil.
  • Ben Affleck and Jennifer Aniston, for many a power couple of the screen, generate fewer sparks than Jack Albertson and Shelley Winters, even after Big Shell’s ticker explodes like a microwaved gerbil. Sure, they’re the beautiful people, or so we’re told by Us and OK, but they still manage to keep envy at bay with zombie-like line readings and emotional outpourings usually reserved for junior high Facebook pages. Ben’s a bastard because he won’t get married, so naturally he caves because he can’t imagine life without the elixir of cold and cuntish that drives the fellas wild.
  • Jennifer Connelly can’t act. Never could, really. And she’s all illusion and lighting, as she’s never been this shrewish in a motion picture. She’s hateful, sure, because she tunes out of marriage on her terms, not recognizing that tuning out, though unavoidable, must be mutual in order for both parties to survive. And your father dying of lung cancer is not a reason to nag your husband about his own smoking. He’s stuck in an ice palace, darling, leave him some release.
  • Drew Barrymore is the surest sign that a movie is wallowing in the toilet. She’s like a bur-infested basset hound you keep beating because it won’t stop slobbering on your leg. She’s one of the few actresses working who combines a Plain Jane blandness with psychotic neediness, the ultimate in toxic femininity. If you’re going to have a chick calling you sixteen times an hour, at least let it be someone who doesn’t remind you of your neighborhood barista.

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  • Baltimore seems like a hip, well-bred city, though I imagine Buffalo could achieve similar grandeur if it were similarly filmed in
    Toronto. Still, it’s good to know that Hollywood continues in its relentless march to convince the unknowing that the nation’s cities, far from dying under a TB-infested blanket of Mexificiation, are thriving as havens for the arts, fine dining, and overpriced lofts.
  • It’s axiomatic that no one ever works in the movies, but that’s never been more blatant this time around. If you’re lucky, you’ll be hired at a trendy gay weekly, where your day consists of having ten separate and distinct lunch hours, as well as hoards of sassy, well-dressed homosexuals surrounding your desk, offering little more than riotous retorts on matters of life and love. And then, if you’re Gigi or Janine, you’ll spin from cubicle to cubicle at an enterprise so vague and ill-defined that it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that they simply pay these people to cackle, gossip, and fret about their boyfriends. I’m guessing the economic downturn has dispensed with such positions, though, as always, the movies will be our guide.
  • Hot chicks love to play video games at 3am. The hotter they are, in fact, the more likely they’ll throw you a high-five at a brilliantly executed reverse she all-but-knew was coming. And if they’re blond, busty, and love oral sex on the first date, expect a lengthy discussion on the upcoming NFL draft, a fiery debate on the merits of the National Recovery Act, and at least one knowing eye-roll when you allude to Heidegger in mixed company.
  • Meet-cutes are obligatory, yes, but who knew that even late night grocery lines weren’t safe? Most instructive is that you should never just “throw something on” to pick up that much-needed Totino’s or Robitussin, if only to allow for a staggeringly sexy member of the opposite sex to see your untapped potential.
  • Based on audience response, there’s nothing more likely to elicit a gasp of delight from a female than a bended-knee proposal. Unless you’re genetically predisposed to ignore such entreaties. But then you’d be in that Madea film down the hall, now wouldn’t you?
About Matt

Matt is the site’s Longest Serving Critic and chief misanthrope. He divides his time between classics of cinema and the most ridiculous movies he can find on Redbox.
Follow Matt: @mattcale52