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He's Just Not That Into You (2009)
Warner Home Video
Blu-ray Disc Released: 6/2/2009
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 5/26/2009
Remember that time that you had a big circle of friends, some of whom knew each other and some of whom didn't, and you were always getting involved in one another's relationships and someone would always play matchmaker? You don't remember that? Well, me neither, but this is a scenario which Hollywood seems to love. The big screen apparently adores movies where we get to follow the lives of a group of couples and the one token single, as we learn the many different ways in which relationships can develop and dissolve. He's Just Not That Into You is the latest entry in this sub-genre.
He's Just Not That Into You introduces us to a semi-diverse group of friends and couples. Neil (Ben Affleck) and Beth (Jennifer Aniston) have been together for seven years and Beth is ready to get married. But, Neil states that he doesn't believe in marriage and this creates distance between them. Ben (Bradley Cooper) is married to Janine (Jennifer Connelly). One night, Ben meets Anna (Scarlett Johansson) and he's immediately smitten by her. Anna doesn't seem concerned/threatened by the fact that Ben is married and she openly flirts with him. Real estate agent Conor (Kevin Connolly) once had a relationship with Anna and he longs to get back with her. He's good friends with Alex (Justin Long) who runs a nightclub. Conor goes out with Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin), but never calls her again. Gigi works with Beth and Janine and turns to them for advice. She then meets Alex and is quite taken with his male perspective on dating when he explains Conor's behavior by saying the film's title. From there, Gigi goes on a quest to learn as much as possible about relationships, while we watch those around her struggle with their own couplings.
He's Just Not That Into You is based on a self-help book which was in turn based on a line of dialogue from Sex and the City. How's that for a pedigree? The movie uses ideas from the book as subject headings and sort of divides the movie into chapters which examine the different ways in which men can send messages to women. Some of these title cards are accompanied by on-camera confessions by characters who aren't part of the story. (Hey! It's Frangela! I love her...them...whatever.)
Oddly the movie owes much more to movies like Singles and Love Actually as it presents us with a group of couples and friends and shows us the ins and outs of their relationships. And, like those movies, He's Just Not That Into You runs into that inevitable pitfall -- there's going to be at least one couple/storyline that you don't like. Although, here it's actually difficult to become fully engrossed in any of the storylines due to the lack of detail. Why doesn't Neil believe in marriage? Other than physical attraction to Anna, what would make Ben consider cheating on Janine? Drew Barrymore appears in a few scenes as Mary, but we really don't learn anything about her. In short, the movie spreads itself too thin as it tries its best to follow all of these couples. I think that if He's Just Not That Into You would have dropped just one of the storylines, it could have felt much more tight and concise.
The other major problem with He's Just Not That Into You is that it never feels original or special. Again, the format has been done before and the movie certainly pales in comparison to the superior Love Actually. The movie is filled with cliches and stereotype characters and there are few, if any surprises.
The only bright spot in He's Just Not That Into You is the cast, but even they are used too sparingly. While the movie juggles multiple storylines, much of it focuses on Gigi and I simply didn't find Ginnifer Goodwin very winning in her role. Ben Affleck and Justin Long never share any scenes, which is a crime, but they respectively brighten up the movie when they are on-screen, but it's clear that both are holding back (which is why the extras are worth watching -- see below). Aniston, Connelly, and Johansson are solid in their roles, but they are doing things which we've seen before, especially Connelly.
It's easy to get one's hopes up about a rom-com with an ensemble cast, and He's Just Not That Into You seemed to have the makings of a good one. But the pedestrian and shallow material does nothing for the movie and the result is something which is neither funny nor moving. I hate to break this to you, but I'm just not into this movie.
He's Just Not That Into You doesn't call you back onBlu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Home Video. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains a VC-1 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 13 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The image is quite crisp and the levels of detail and depth are both OK. The Disc carries a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 1.4 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The audio here is very standard, for lack of a better word. The stereo effects are adequate and sound fine during crowd scenes. However, the surround is very weak and the only subwoofer effects come from in-film music.
The He's Just Not That Into You Blu-ray Disc has a few extras. "Baltimore Blade: The Relationship Issue" contain six brief segments which feature faux interviews with the characters from the movie. We got a hint of this during the closing credits, and one can assume that more of these were meant to be featured there. The segments featuring Beth & Neil and Alex & Gigi are definitely worth watching and there are some hilarious moments here which are better than anything found in the film. Justin Long goes off on a tangent about Neil which is very funny. In "Six Words That Make Up a Film" (11 minutes) we hear from authors Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo who discuss the origins of the book. From there, the execs behind the film talk about how the movie came about. Ken Kwapis explains how to shoot a dull dialogue scenes in "The Director Stages a Scene: Duet For Telephones" (4 minutes). The Disc contains five DELETED SCENES which run about 14 minutes and can be viewed with optional commentary by Kwapis. Three of these scenes feature Johansson's character -- did they not want us to learn more about her? -- while one offers an alternate take on a segment of the finale.
Warner Home Video has also brought He's Just Not That Into You to DVD. The DVD contains both the widescreen and full-frame versions of the film. For the purposes of this review, only the widescreen version was viewed. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is very sharp and clear in some shots, but then it's very soft in others. These soft shots show notable haloes. In either case, the image is free from grain and defects. The colors look good, but the image lacks in overall detail. The DVD has a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are fine and come through clearly in the party scene, but the surround and bass effects are nearly unnoticeable.
The DELETED SCENES are the only extra which appear on the DVD.
Review Copyright 2009 by Mike Long