How to read the signals of the opposite sex – or not, as this romantic comedy demonstrates.
Courtesy of New Line Cinema
A catchphrase doesn't often turn into a movie, but that's exactly what happened with "He's Just Not That Into You." Technically, those six words, first uttered in an episode of the TV show "Sex and the City," morphed into a bestselling dating guide before becoming a movie. But however you size it up, the film is essentially an excuse to tap into the burgeoning market for retro romantic comedy – represented, most recently, by the "Sex and the City" movie and "Bride Wars."
Its patchwork quality can be traced directly to its patchwork origins. Interlocked relationships between guys and gals are schematically arranged around a central concept: The opposite sexes don't have a clue how to read each other's dating signals. The proliferation of Facebook and MySpace and a gajillion other online portals has only further complicated a mating ritual that was already impenetrable from the dawn of civilization.
To illustrate this point, director Ken Kwapis and his screenwriters Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein have assembled an assortment pack of romantic malcontents. Needy, clueless Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) is hung up on real estate agent Conor (Kevin Connelly), who only has eyes for his sometime squeeze Anna (Scarlett Johansson), who pines for the sorely tempted Ben (Bradley Cooper), whose marriage to Janine (Jennifer Connelly) is on the rocks. She works in the same office as Gigi and Beth (Jennifer Aniston), who is desperate to tie the knot with her longtime live-in boyfriend Neil (Ben Affleck).