As women, we are socialized to be nurturing, understanding, and empathetic. Unquestionably, these are all positive qualities that are worthy of emulation. However, we abuse these same traits when we use them to rationalize, explain and oh so casually dismiss bad behavior from men in our relationships. We adopt this so-called “social worker” approach to dating and then fail to understand when our relationships fold and fizzle before they barely have a chance to begin. Every soap opera and love song makes us believe that the path to real love is lined with tears, torture and torment. Is it really possible that the secret to finding lasting love can be reflected in the simple truism of a single mantra?
Herein lies the premise of the entire movie: If he’s not calling you, sleeping with you or marrying you … he’s just not that into you.
This catch phrase originated from a season six episode of Sex and the City. In the episode, Miranda regales the girls with her seemingly great date and is baffled that he has not called her back. As Carrie and Charlotte rush to console her, Jack Berger (Ron Livingston) Carrie’s latest boyfriend, just flatly delivers to her the now famous line. Burgeoned by the popularity of the episode and the oft-quoted line, Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, both former staff for Sex, authored several books centered around the concept of knowing your own worth and moving on when you realize that the guy you’ve been lusting after is just not that into you.
The film attempts to appeal to the twenty-thirty something demographic that made Sex and the City so wildly popular and features a cast of characters that mirror the different problems that women encounter in the various stages of their relationships. There is the sweetly neurotic Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) who wants a guy to call her when he says he will. Her new friend Alex (Justin Long) tries to give her good advice, but his own womanizing ways are in need of remediation. Gigi’s co-workers Beth (Jennifer Aniston) and Janine (Jennifer Connelly) are in committed relationships to Neil (Ben Affleck) and Ben (Bradley Cooper) respectively, but face their own concerns about the future of their relationships. Mary (Drew Barrymore) is baffled by technology that seems to do more to hinder rather than help her on the dating scene and her friend Anna (Scarlet Johansson) grapples with her attraction to a married man that eclipses the lukewarm feelings she harbors for her on-again, off-again boyfriend Conor (Kevin Connolly).
As the characters navigate their way through their various missteps and adventures, we can see ourselves along our own respective romantic journeys. It’s both entertaining and cringe-worthy to shadow the characters down some of their paths-and to realize that there are sometimes reasons that a road is less traveled by. He’s Just Not That Into You emerges as a fresh and fun movie that subtly urges women to empower themselves in their relationships. In an era where women are still at times one-dimensionally cast as the “slut” or the “saint” in mainstream films, this smart, confident perspective on women makes all of the difference.