He’s Just Not That Into You (2009)

Rated: PG-13 for sexual content and brief strong language.
Length: 129 minutes
Grade: B+C-B+B+=B+
Budget: $25 million
Box Office: $183 million (94 U.S., 71 Intl., 18 DVD)

Written by: Abby Kohn (Never Been Kissed) and Marc Silverstein (Same), based on the book by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo.
Directed by: Ken Kwapis (License to Wed and Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants)
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Bradley Cooper, Ginnifer Goodwin, Scarlett Johansson, and Justin Long, with cameos by Kris Kristofferson and Luis Guzman.

This is a semi-vignette collage dealing with a loosely connected group of twenty- and thirty-somethings built around the idea that women are basically fools when it comes to relationships.

Entertainment Value: B+
This movie had three phases for me. At first, for about 20 minutes, I hated it. The characters were crazy, literally unbelievably crazy and infuriating. Then for about an hour I LOVED IT! I thought it was one of the most insightful, entertaining movies I had seen in a long time. Then, at the end, I just sat there confused about what had just happened. And, to a degree, I still am. Nevertheless, I think I recommend it? It’s funny. It’s insightful. It’s well-directed. And it’s unpredictable, oddly, which is refreshing for anything funny dealing with relationships.

Superficial Content: C-
Drugs/Alcohol C, Sex/Nudity D+, Violence B, Language C-, Illegality NA
People are drinking all the time, although not getting drunk normally. The language is pretty heavy for PG-13, in fact, enough that I was surprised this didn’t get rated R. But the real issue here is sexuality, which involves adultery, several sexual scenes (no nudity, but lots of disrobing), and lots of sex discussions. I’d say PG-15 at the very least.

Significant Content: B+
Learn to think of yourself and your relationship as being the rule rather than the exception, and you will be far less frustrated about it. On the other hand, sometimes you are the exception, since someone has to be. He’s just not that into you if he’s not calling you, if he’s not sleeping with you, if he’s sleeping with someone else, or if he’s not marrying you. If a guy really wants to be with you, he’ll make it happen no matter what. The impulse to comfort people with well-intentioned lies is very counterproductive in the end.

Artistic/Thought Value: B+
So, there were two things that I found disappointing here. The first was the way it all ended, where, as I said earlier, I basically was left feeling quite confused. But the other disappointment was that in the list of “He’s just not that into you if”s, they never quite got to the one I sort of expected to see next: if he’s not giving you children. But there was one overwhelmingly effective element of this movie. In the end, I found myself feeling very much like God must feel toward us. Regardless of how stupid or wrong the characters were, what I found myself most wanting for them was to be happy, like a parent watching children. Given that I normally stop caring about characters who are grossly immoral or stupid, I consider this quite an artistic accomplishment.

Discussion Questions:
~Do you find women portrayed realistically in this movie? Are they this stupid? Are they this crazy?
~Consider the various stages mentioned in this movie (calling, sleeping with, marrying, e.g.). Which of them are and are not indicators of his level of interest in you?
~Neil makes the argument that marriage is a lie because only people who are insecure in their relationships need to make a big show of things and because we all have friendships that are solid without having a certificate. What would you say to him? Would it make sense for people to get “friendship certificates?” Why or why not?
~Alex says that if a guy is interested in you, he’ll find a way to find you. In your experience, has this been true? If you’re a man, have you ever done ridiculous things to find or get a girl? If you’re a woman, ask some of your guy friends what they think about this idea.
~What was your attitude toward the characters at the end of the movie? Did you have particular ones you were “rooting for” or against, or not?
~Have you ever told someone a kind lie in order to give them something to hold onto? Did it wind up actually helping in the long run? What is the difference between these sort of comfort statements and the assurances we have in Scripture?
~One of the themes in this movie is the idea of “settling” for a relationship that isn’t your ideal but is at least better than nothing or the awful prospects of dating again. What do you think of this concept? Is romance and the thrill of exciting love overrated? Is being “into someone” really all that important in the grand scheme of things?
~Why is Ginny not revolted by Alex’s ruthless truth-telling? What does this reveal about her and him?
~Starting from the premise that all the characters in this film are idolizing their partners or their potential partners, what observations and explanations can you make for each of them?

Overall Grade: B+
Refreshingly honest. Useful for women, I hope. Funny. But certainly not a great family movie. It should be R rated.

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