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Film / He's Just Not That Into You

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He's Just Not That Into You is a 2009 Romantic Comedy/Dramedy film directed by Ken Kwapis and Based on an Advice Book. The Ensemble Cast includes Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore (who was also one of the producers), Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Connolly, Bradley Cooper, Ginnifer Goodwin, Scarlett Johansson, and Justin Long (among others).

The movie is different from your typical romantic comedy in that it features not one, but four storylines going on at the same time, with snippets of people on the streets giving relationship advice on various topics.

The film is set in Baltimore and consists of these four story-lines:

  1. Gigi (Goodwin) is a hyperactive girl who's desperately seeking a boyfriend. After trying and failing with numerous guys, she meets Alex (Long), who knows the ins and outs of relationships, and helps Gigi see through the charades of the various men she meets. Little does he realize that he's falling for her in the process.
  2. Janine (Connelly) and Ben (Cooper) are married after a rather long relationship. Janine is thrilled, but Ben feels that he is trapped and longs for the freedom he felt before marriage. One night he meets Anna (Johansson) at a grocery store, and what begins as a work relationship ends up becoming an affair.
  3. Conor (Connolly) is a real estate agent with a crush on Anna. They are implied to have a 'friends with benefits' relationship. The problem is that Anna doesn't want to be with him, so she sees Ben as a way out. Meanwhile, Anna's friend Mary (Barrymore) works in ad sales for a newspaper, and helps Conor get advertisements for his company put into the paper. Mary is also seeking a boyfriend, and she feels that Conor could be the one.
  4. Ben's best friend Neil (Affleck) has been living with his girlfriend Beth (Aniston) for nine years, and she wants him to pop the question. The problem is that Neil is afraid of marriage, and he feels that he's loyal enough, and their relationship is serious enough that they don't need to be married. In frustration, Beth leaves for her sister's wedding, where she sees that married life isn't all it's cracked up to be.

This film contains examples of:

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Inverted as Neil didn't want to marry Beth but after she was gone he was there for her
    • Also inverted with Alex who wasn't himself after Gigi left him.
  • All Gays Are Promiscuous: Two gay men explain the art of hooking up in the homosexual world. If you can hold their stare for 3 seconds, it's on.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: "Girlfriend" by Crystal Kay, featuring Boa, is the theme song for the Japanese dub.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Alex.
  • Based on an Advice Book: Most of the characters act out dating and marriage scenarios described in the book.
  • Berserk Button: Smoking is this for Janine, because she lost her dad to lung cancer. Ben assures her he doesn't smoke, but when she finds a pack of what Harlan Ellison called "cancersticks" in his jacket...
    • To make matters worse, she finds them after she's learned of his infidelity and in the midst of them trying to work things out. They become symbolic of how much he's been lying to her about everything.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Ben (Archie), Anna (Veronica) and Janine (Betty).
    • Connor (Archie), Mary (Betty) and Anna (Veronica).
  • Bittersweet Ending: Gigi and Alex start dating. Mary and Connor meet and instantly hit off. Neil does propose to Beth and they get married. But Janine divorces Ben and they move on in their lives. Anna also dumps Ben and ends things with Connor, but she too, moves on with her life.
  • Broken Aesop: Beth wants Neil to marry her but he doesn't believe in marriage, and she breaks up with him as a result. Beth soon realizes what she's lost and asks Neil to take her back. It appears the aesop is that that marriage doesn't automatically make you happy or more committed than a devoted couple. And in the end a woman can find happiness without it. However, Neil then asks Beth to marry him anyways. Apparently, a woman can't be complete without marriage after all and that men will always marry a woman if they love her.
    • Or that the guy has to bend over backwards to keep a girl who doesn't share the same aspirations as him. Very rarely does this actually work. (As we see with Ben and Janine.)
    • Or the general idea they both sacrifice their dreams for their significant other. For better or worse. Though some would find that romantic.
    • Alex and Gigi. Alex spends most of the film drilling into Gigi (and the audience) that if a guy wants to be with you, he'll make it happen. If you're not sure whether or not he likes you, or have to do all the work to be together, then he's just not that into you and you should move on. No exceptions, not even you. Toward the end of act two Gigi then dissects every interaction she ever had with Alex, and convinces herself there were "signs" he was secretly into her, which he calls her out on, and sends her away. And then it all flies out the window when it turns out Gigi was right, Alex did secretly like her, and she is his exception, completely breaking the film's entire premise.
  • Creator Cameo: Greg Behrendt, co-author of the book, plays the wedding minister.
  • Cringe Comedy: Veers into this occasionally, especially with Gigi.
  • Foil: Ben and Neil are two men who're pressured by their girlfriends into getting married, but while Ben gave into the pressure some time ago and resents being married to Janine because he feels he's missing out on other women, Neil resists the pressure to marry Beth but still loves and is committed to her, and doesn't want anyone else. Neil ends up marrying Beth anyway, while Janine divorces Ben.
  • Gay Best Friend: Mary has a whole posse of them at work.
  • Gender Flip: Anna and Connor play out a version of "she's just not that into you"—they're very good friends, but despite genuinely liking him, she simply does not reciprocate his romantic/sexual feelings for her.
  • It's Not You, It's Me: It never is, according to this movie. If you ever hear this line, go buy yourself some ice cream and booze because you just got dumped.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Alex to Gigi.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Ben gets dumped by both of the women in his life, Janine for his cheating, Anna for the abovementioned Closet Shuffle, during which she's forced to listen while he and Janine have sex.
  • Last Minute Hookup: Mary and Connor could fit in this category.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: We're talking to you, Gigi. And let's not forget Anna... hooking up with a married man. Then there's Mary, for trying to find love through digital devices (phone, text, social media, Skype dates, etc) instead of meeting men in person, even though it never works out for her.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Janine, Ben, Anna, Connor, and Mary are all connected romantically.
  • Loving a Shadow: Alex helps Gigi realize that she obsesses about guys she barely knows (like Connor) or don't want to see her because she's subconsciously addicted to the thrill and drama of chasing them. With effort, Gigi stops doing this and focuses on finding guys she actually likes and, more importantly, like her back.
  • Match Maker Crush: Sort of. Alex doesn't realize he is in love with Gigi until after he teaches her how to impress men.
  • Married at Sea: Beth and Neil.
  • Mars-and-Venus Gender Contrast: All over the place.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: In the opening scene, the child version of Gigi is abruptly pushed off a jungle gym by a boy. When she tearfully asks why he did that, he yells, "Because you smell like dog poo!" In trying to comfort her, her mother claims, "Do you know why he did that? Because he likes you!" As an adult, Gigi angrily points out that telling girls this sets them up for years of ill-treatment at the hands of men because of being conditioned to believe that it's actually a sign of affection.
  • Monochrome Casting: The movie is set in Baltimore, and nary a black person in sight.
  • Morton's Fork: How Ben sees his marriage to Janine. He confides to Neil that he feels men like them can never win. He's a jerk if he dates a woman for a long time but doesn't marry her (Neil), but then he's the asshole if he gets married before he's ready (Ben).
  • Ms. Fanservice: Scarlett Johansson as Anna. Can you say "throwing a bone to guys taken to this by their girlfriends"?
  • Nested Story: Four different storylines in the same movie.
  • Not a Date: Gigi fully ignored the signs that Alex is not into her, and acts as a co-host at his party. But it does work out in the end for her, considering that she was supposed to be "The Rule".
  • Old Maid: How Beth is seen at her sister's wedding, since she's the eldest of four sisters, the only one now not married, and recently broken up from a seven-year-relationship.
  • Parental Favoritism: Beth's dad cheers her up about feeling like an Old Maid at her sister's wedding by proudly assuring her she's his favorite. She tells him he's not supposed to say that, but she's clearly touched by it.
  • Reality Ensues: Janine goes into a fit of rage over Ben's infidelity, flinging his clothes around and smashing a mirror. At this, her fit abruptly halts as she realizes that now she needs to clean up the mess she's made.
    • Also, Janine's entire relationship with Ben. She tells Gigi at one point that he didn't call her for eleven days after their first date, the only reason they started dating was because she called him, and we learn the only reason they're married is because she gave him an ultimatum. (And they're in a Sexless Marriage.) To the viewer it's clear he was never that into her, and in the long run he resents her for pressuring him into something he wasn't ready for. Unsurprisingly, their marriage doesn't work out.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: In the end, Alex and Gigi.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Beth's awesome dad. When she tells him he's not supposed to say she's his favorite:
    "Hell, I'm retired. I can say whatever I want! I can tell it to the whole room, if you want."
  • Sexless Marriage: Janine tearfully reveals this about herself and Ben.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss:
    • Alex does this to Gigi.
    • Anna also does this to Conor.
  • Skewed Priorities: Subverted. On the surface, Janine forgiving Ben for cheating but being prepared to divorce him for smoking seems like this. As the film goes on, however, it becomes clear that she focuses on the smoking because it's easier to deal with than the hurt and betrayal over their failing marriage and his infidelity. Janine also makes it clear that she values honesty. She can forgive his infidelity because he came out and admitted it, but can't forgive the smoking because he lied and tried to hide it from her.
  • Stalking Is Love: Gigi thinks so, before Alex sets her straight.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: Of the "Pay Cheating Unto Normal/Boring" variety. Considerable time is spent developing Ben and Anna's relationship and showing that he's genuinely attracted to her and falling in love with her, despite the fact that he's married to a perfectly decent and beautiful woman.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gigi gives a pretty powerful one to Alex at the end of the second act, calling him out on treating women like they're expendable to him, then acting superior for never putting himself out there or getting hurt, when in reality he's alone, doesn't have any meaningful friendships or relationships, and the women he scorns are a lot closer to finding meaningful connections than he'll ever have since they're at least trying.
    Gigi: I would rather be like that, then be like you
    Alex: Excuse me? What's that supposed to mean?
    Gigi: I may dissect each little thing and put myself out there so much but at least that means that I still care. Oh! You've think you won because women are expendable to you. You may not get hurt or make an ass of yourself that way but you don't fall in love that way either. You have not won. You're alone. I may do a lot of stupid shit but I'm still a lot closer to love than you are!
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel: Arguably Anna, who believes Ben may be her soulmate and uses this to justify her taking up with a married man. This doesn't pan out.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Gigi moves on from Alex just as he realizes that he truly has fallen in love with her, they end up together in the end.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: When Gigi tells Beth and Janine at work about all the signs a man is "just not that into" a woman that Alex told her about, Beth internalizes that if a woman has been with a man for seven years and he hasn't married her yet, then he's never going to marry her. Gigi is clearly horrified and tries to backpedal, but it still prompts Beth to dump Neil. They get back together in the end.
  • Voicemail Confusion: Gig runs into this when she tries to call Conor.
  • Wham Line: Ben to Janine (since the audience knows already).
    "I slept with someone."
  • Your Cheating Heart: Ben.


Example of: