I saw “He’s Just Not That Into You” the other night and am left feeling completely bewildered. A feeling that continues to grow and turn into irritation the more I think about the film. It’s a feeling that I would hope many would share with me once they look past the pretty, Hollywood faces saturating the film and recognize that the movie is one giant contradiction after the other, starting with its genre and title.
As much as its marketing team may have tried to convince movie-goers otherwise, this movie is a chick flick through and through. This isn’t exactly a problem, except when the title of your movie is “He’s Just Not That Into You,” a name that lends itself to telling it to women as it is; basically the anti-chick flick. The reason chick flicks do so well is because women want to slip away into a fantastical life about a woman who in the end always seems to triumph and find that perfect guy. The premise of HJNTIY is that women need to stop believing all the messages they’re fed through countless hours of watching these types of movies. She needs to stop romanticize the idea of prince charming, wake up and realize that the douche bag that only calls her on the weekends is not actually her boyfriend. She needs to become aware of what reality is, namely: not a romantic comedy that ties up neatly in two hours.
A character from the movie specifically points out that women need to stop rationalizing that they’re life situation is the “exception” to what’s normal. In her character’s turning point, she comes to the revelation that those mysterious girls you hear about with the fairytale ending are the “exception,” not the “rules.” The rules being as simple as if you don’t hear from a guy, he’s not into you. Yet – and this is not exactly a spoiler alert – nearly every single of those women turn out to be the exception.
WTF? Isn’t that going back on your exact point? So the name of the god damned film is “He’s Just Not That Into You,” but… oh wait… turns out he is into you. Just what in the hell are these mixed messages telling us? I tell you what they tell us: this movie didn’t have the gall to reach the potential it had. No, people want to see happy endings, and that’s what the movie making business will provide its paying consumers. Whatever, that’s lame but I understand that it’s a business but please, don’t think that consumers are that stupid that we wouldn’t pick up on this total contradiction. We would right?… oh Jesus, I don’t know anymore – I mean look at how well “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” is doing.
What is even more disconcerting to me is that other women will absolutely adore this movie because “Oh, it’s so cute!” or “OMG I totally know a girl like that.” etc. etc. Yes, it is easy to get distracted by the gobs of wonderful and pretty famous people in it, but can’t you see that this movie is backhandedly swapping at its exact intended market? Women are portrayed as needy and desperate, with their only concern to be how soon they can get married. The movie did have a set for the women’s jobs but did they ever even bother mentioning what they did? No because all the women did at work was talk about guys. Their lives centered on evaluating their self worth based purely on what some dude they went on one date thought. One character did not even bother to think for one second if she may actually be interested in someone, but was obsessing over whether or not he’s interested in her. Is he going to call me? What did he think of me? Shouldn’t the more accurate questions be: Do I want him to call me? Should I call him? What do I think of him?
To me, the message intended behind HJNTIY (the “self-help” book) is that women need to stop making excuse for why they’re staying in a relationship. That sometimes people need a reality check every once in a while. That women need to stand up for what they want, and not lower their standards because they fear being alone. Basically, empower yourself and don’t pretend to be someone (or something) you’re not.