Based on the thinnest of sources—a pamphlet-sized advice book by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, itself taken from a Sex And The City episode more memorable for Charlotte's overzealous conversion to Judaism—He's Just Not That Into You unfolds into a rom-com phantasmagoria of Love Actually proportions. It's an understatement to say the material doesn't support such a sprawling enterprise: How much space can really be devoted to a straight dude telling straight women that men are simple creatures who send off clear, unambiguous signals? If a guy refuses to come up after a date, return phone calls, or get married after many years of dating, there's no use looking for reasons or excuses other than the obvious. But since He's Just Not That Into You is a romantic comedy, the message gets perverted; suddenly, cut-and-dried rules with no exceptions are bucked by one happy exception after another.
Casts this large and star-studded are normally reserved for madcap cross-country treasure hunts or storming the beaches of Normandy, but Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Scarlett Johansson, and Drew Barrymore each donated a few days of their time to the cause. But the big names don't do needy as well as Big Love's Ginnifer Goodwin, charming as a hapless single woman who clings to an advice-slinging bartender (Kevin Connolly) after his roommate (Justin Long) gives her the brush-off. The other women are also dealing with romantic troubles: Aniston's boyfriend (Ben Affleck) won't commit, Connelly suspects her husband (Bradley Cooper) of infidelity, Johansson is sleeping with a married man, and Barrymore can't get lucky with the personals.
Though the screenplay works overtime to tie all these subplots together in the same universe, the common thread in He's Just Not That Into You is the sad spectacle of women embarrassing themselves for love. The cast members, particularly Goodwin and Connelly, do it well, but the point of the Sex And The City bit was that it's liberating not to cling to false hope. The movie makes it seem worthwhile, even noble, to wait around for cads to change their ways. No doubt the film's happy endings will only perpetuate more delusion and heartbreak.