Monday, March 02, 2009


Two-thirds of the way through the inexplicably long He's Just Not That Into You (the title of which sounds much more interesting in German: Er Steht Einfach Nicht Auf Dich!), real estate agent and frustrating half-man Conor (Kevin Connelly) gets some female advice from two gay men who just had to painfully witness his soft-boy game spitting attempt at gal pal Anna (Scarlett Johannson). Anna is the type of woman who tells Conor he's "cute & smart", suckers him into massaging her feet, but will never give up the nappy dugout when Conor wants to hit... save for the one time when she was feeling overly rejected and lonely.

The two men try to interpret Anna's body language for Conor, but they preface it with a warning that reading "straight" signals isn't the same as reading "gay" signals. The gay dudes are exactly right about the difficulty of combing through the chemistry between Conor and Anna in order to find something even remotely resembling natural human behavior, but it's not because they're straight, it's because the Hollywood bubble interpretation of courtship is, once again, completely off-the-mark and devoid of real-life passion.

One sits there pondering where these actors drew their inspiration from. True, they are all playing segregated, upper-middle class east coasters, so they're wasn't much research to be done, but how to explain the hovering lack of spirit?

He's Just Not That That Into You presents the audience with the kind of minor-league ensemble cast (think 200 Cigarettes) that forces one to giggle at the prospect of producers and casting agents thinking they had assembled a powerhouse of thespians. Only Justin Long and Ginnifer Goodwin bring a noticeable presence to the screen. In fact, had He's Just Not That Into You only circled around these two fine actors, it might have been a fine film. Instead, Long and Goodwin's underused talent simply exposes the glaring lack in the others.

Especially terrible is Scarlett Johannson. I don't know if she's been long distracted by the text messages of Barack Obama or what, but the young actress has been on a piss-poor streak. I thought Johannson's turn as the blond broad abroad in Vicky Cristina Barcelona was her worst performance thus far, but her acting in HJNTIY is even worser. Yes, Johannson has a round, gorgeous body, but that sexual self-awareness has seemingly gone to her head, convincing her that cupping ones curves is an asset equal to actual acting ability.

Maryiln Monroe (among others) proved that a woman's bounce and jiggle could be used as a brilliant tool, equal to that of an actor's specific voice, face, or strut. But Johannson just gives the camera a blank stare body flash that is, frankly, embarrassing to watch.

As for the rest of the cast: I just don't get Bradley Cooper (he convincingly played a douche in Wedding Crashers, but he kinda really seems like he's always playing a douche). Jennifer Aniston and Ben Affleck are dead. Jennifer Connelly is out of place. Kevin Connelly is one note. And Drew Barrymore is consistently becoming ever so more annoying with that exasperated, frowny-mouthed piggy tail act of hers.

Last week, rumors surfaced that Drew Barrymore could possibly be directing the third movie in the Twilight franchise, Eclipse, causing waves in the sea of Robert Pattinson fangirls so intensely that one Twihard quipped, "I think that is the worst Idea since slavery!" (See HERE for more OMG! proclamations on this situation). Based on Barrymore's behind-the-scenes involvement in He's Just Not That Into You, I can't say I blame the hormonal reaction of the tweens. They may regret exiling Catherine Hardwick to the sidelines after all.


Jonathan Lapper said...

And Drew Barrymore is consistently becoming ever so more annoying with that exasperated, frowny-mouthed piggy tail act of hers.

I had a frowny-mouthed piggy tail act on Broadway for about 3 years. It was okay at first but it became tiresome having to do the same routine day in and day out. Quite frankly, I'm thrilled that Drew took it over for me.

Mandy said...

Nice credit me for the awesome Twihard craziness!

Fox said...

But see, Jonathan. Three years is tolerable. Drew has been doing it since that E.T. movie from back in the olden days. I think she even does the face Tim Roth gives her prison sex in Everyone Says I Love You.


Now, now Mandy. We both know that all of my Twilight/Twihard research is done by me and me alone. Maybe you should put down that champagne bottle for a day and just calm down.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Well, yeah, when I saw her in E.T. I was like, "Hey, there's my replacement!"

Fox said...

Well, yeah, when I saw her in E.T. I was like, "Hey, there's my replacement!"

It's a shame that your lives took such different paths since then. I'm not saying you haven't been successful in your own way, but now Drew gets to date drummers and has an eight figure disposable income.

Jonathan Lapper said...

My dates with drummers have always turned out bad anyway.

Jonathan Lapper said...

By the way, is it just me, or are you and I the only two bloggers active on the internet today?

Fox said...

Whoa... you just did one of those two-comments-within-one-minute things again!

And yes, it sure does feel that we are alone out here. I've looked for Bill in a few portals but there are no signs of him.

Well... I found some "bag propaganda" and Bilderberg videos at this one place, but that could be anybody.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Oh well, I'm going home. Boy, and tomorrow I have a lot of work to do so it'll probably be crazy busy on the blogs tomorrow. Woe is me.

Mandy said...

That's it, no more RPattz gifs and ONTD LOLs for you!

Robert Pattinson said...

Hi. Just wanted to say I like your blog.

Saw this movie recently. Didn't care much for it. Agree with you.

Pat said...

I like the German title, too.

I was in Austria when "Dude, Where's my Car?" was playing there. It's German title was "Hey, Mann, Woe ist mein Auto?"

Daniel Getahun said...

Glad that I skipped this one recently, despite some interest in the minor league cast. To take nothing away from Justin Long - when he's the highlight of the movie, it's probably not that amazing.

And I totally agree about Johansson. To steal from my own review of VCB - "increasingly, I find her less and less of an "actress" and more and more of a celebrity playing in movies". Soon if not already, I'm afraid that's all she might be.

Victor said...

Scar-Jo's performance in VCB might have been the worst thing I've recently seen. It's like she's not even trying. If it wasn't for her ample curves, I doubt she'd have a career at this point.

Fox said...


"Hey, Mann, Woe ist mein Auto?" is great.

It that text, it kinda sounds like the title of a post-war film.


I think ScarJo can still do fine if she can just figure herself out. I liked her in Scoop and The Nanny Diaries, two movies where she hadn't put her sexuality so out in front of herself.

But right now, your "celebrity playing in movies" critique is right-on.


It would be interesting to think about how much Scarlett's dull performance endned up helping elevate Penelope Cruz to her Best Supporting Actress status. Personally, I thought Rebecca Hall was the best thing in that movie that I didn't find barely anything to like about, but I'm willing to bet Cruz benefited from being opposite Johansson.

Pat said...

Fox - You're so right - Rebecca Hall is the unsung heorine of VCB. Cruz was great, but Hall was just as good, and - except for a SAG nomination - she hasn't gotten proper recognition for it.

Jason Bellamy said...

Haven't seen this, and won't, but I enjoyed the heck out of your review. Nice job.

As for Scar-Jo ...

Part of the problem with her VCB role is that Woody is writing toward her celebrity persona. I'm not sure he gives her many other directions to go with that character.

And that brings me to this ...

Whether by chance or choice or lack of choice (limited casting options?), Johansson seems to be getting some parts that are so close to the celebrity persona that she's creating for herself (all celebs seem to do this) that she can't tell the difference anymore.

That said, I thought she was decent in "The Other Boleyn Girl." Decent, mind you. Part of the job was just filling out the corset. But with some better roles she might be able to disappear into her characters a bit more.

Good call on Rebecca Hall, by the way.

Fox said...


Yeah. I don't think she's totally terrible, just needs to learn how "to disappear into her characters" more.

It's just that for every time I like her in something like In Good Company, she shows up in The Black Dhalia... which, well, that performance is just bizarre.

I just looked her up on IMDb and noticed that her next film is scheduled to be something called Amazon. The description is this:

A gladiatrix exacts vengeance on an army that destroyed her homeland.


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