Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Girl's Night Out

Saturday was a long-awaited girl's night out which included a viewing of the much anticipated He's Just Not that Into You. After seeing the film in a theater with 300 women and 11 men, it is the estimation of this author that "he's" not worth having if he's just not that into me. Even more, this author wonders why he's just not that into me, because he can be darn sure I would never drag him to see a movie like this (unlike at least 11 women in the theater who brought their boyfriends/husbands/brothers). The estrogen was almost too much for me to take, much less someone born on the testosterone side of the scale.

In a special blogging episode brought to you by the entire annual U.S. production of tampons, Accidental Wisconsinite and I will be team blogging our take on the film's charms, of which there were few. It is the humble opinion of MsQuarter and mcarnold, that we were the only two people in the theater who were snickering when the words "you're my exception" came out of Mac Guy's mouth.

This is just one example of this film's Achilles heel - just when you (the viewer) get into a storyline, the screen writer pulls out the cheesiest, schluppiest line, which leaves you with nothing else to do but groan in frustration and disappointment of unmet expectations.

In fulfillment of a promise to take half of the film's story lines and add my usual witty, delightful spin, I will now give you a rundown of the Aniston/Affleck, Goodwin/Long, and Barrymore/Connelly love pairings. Pairings, as in, boxed wine with Velveeta.

Aniston/Affleck: For the first 90% of the film's run time, Ben Affleck adamantly proclaims his distaste for all things marraige. He hates it, doesn't understand it, does not want it, and will not touch it with a 30 foot pole, even with the gorgeous Jennifer Aniston being hit with the end of it.

Then Jen's father takes a turn for the worse at her little sister's wedding (yes! Horror of all horrors, the younger sister is married before the older, spinster sister. Where are we? 1786?). Ben comes to the rescue, Jen realizes he's the one no matter if he won't sign a flimsy piece of paper that ensures inheritance rights, spousal coverage on health insurance, and access to additional 5th Amendment rights. No, she's willing to give it all up just so long as Ben leaves his ratty khaki pants on his boat before moving back home with her.

In the biggest surprise of the entire movie, a surprise that no one saw coming or foreshadowed with the pants bit, Ben moves home and does some laundry. As Jen is helping him fold said laundry she sees the contemptible ratty pants.

She attempts to throw them out, but just when she hits the trash can, Ben tells her to check the pockets first. Oh my god, what do you think's gonna happen????

She finds an engagement ring, and Ben says, "I can't be happy unless you're happy. So I'm going to throw away 33 years of concrete, dogmatic beliefs just so that you feel better about yourself. Forget that I will be secretly waiting for our marriage to end in an ugly armageddon of a divorce 15 years after we say our vows, just as it happened to my parents. Hopefully any children we will have by then will be spared the humiliation and lifelong hatred for marriage that I was left with."

Don't you think that was romantic? And completely unpredictable? I'm sure glad they adapted a perfectly good book into a movie like this.

Goodwin/Long: Ginnifer Goodwin and the Mac Guy represent the major story line of the entire movie. In fact, Justin Long (aka: Mac Guy) is the conduit for Greg Behrendt's famous adage. You'll remember that Greg Behrendt is the brain trust behind the He's Just Not That Into You craze.

Mac Guy spent 75% of the film being charming, witty, and entertaining, while Goodwin spent it stereotyping women as crazy, overly dependent, and given to stalking.

They begin as friends, and when Goodwin realizes that the signals coming from Mac Guy scream "jump my bones," she, well, jumps his bones. Mac Guy is not amused. In fact, this seems the end of it as he calls her a crazy, overly dependent woman with stalkerish tendencies. She fights back with a stinger, saying at least she puts herself out there to be hurt. Burn!

Sidenote: It is this author's opinion that this new, "modern," tendency by society to expect women to always "put themselves out there" does not help the stereotype of us as crazy, dependent, stalkerish women. Nor the stereotype of men as lazy, noncommittal losers. In fact, it is this author's strong opinion that men need to go back to being "the hunters," while women remain "the hunted." With all the talk of Women's Lib and equality, men need one place to maintain the facade of the "dominant," masculine sex. Let that materialize in the realm of dating, and for god's sake, let's bring chivalry back.

This particular story line came to a close with Goodwin narrating that women shouldn't need a man to feel successful, and that a relationship neither defines nor brings value to her. However, to complete the Capra Effect the screenwriters were so valiantly trying to imitate (yet, were woefully inadequate), Mac Guy shows up at Goodwin's door to profess his love. They live happily ever after by reading each other's minds and winning at group board games.

Barrymore/Connolly: I hate to ruin it for all of you folks who were excited at the prospect of seeing some Lesbian action between Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Connelly. The "Connolly" to which I refer is Kevin Connolly, formerly known as "E" on Entourage.

These two only hooked up at the end of the movie, and so my only comment is to thank New Line Cinema and the writers of this script for sparing us the glaring lack of romantic chemistry between Barrymore and Connolly. Thank you for not dragging it out for the full 120 minutes. However, I'm sure McArnold has something to say about the glaring lack of chemistry between ScarWhore and Connolly or, for that matter, ScarWhore and That Guy From Alias.

My biggest criticism with this movie and all others like it, is that the writers spend most of the film's run time convincing women that they do not need men in their fabulous lives. Yet, by the end of the movie, all female characters are shacked up and loving themselves. This film was no different, with all but two female leads (see Accidental Wisconsinite for the recaps) winding up with a man. And these two females in question were not convincing in their contrived, manless happiness.

Bottom Line?
I relegate He's Just Not That Into You to the cinematic category of, "when bad movies happen to good books."