If the new film "He's Just Not That Into You" is to be believed, most women just don't get men. Or rather, they get plenty of men, they just can't get them to stay. Men don't stay because, well, they're men, see. Just as your glancing at your watch to see what century you're in the film gets even worse. Men don't stay unless they really like you, but men never really like you. It's simple. Got it girls? If you actually go to see this deeply anachronistic stinker, remember to bring a large bag of popcorn, because you'll probably want to throw some at the screen. Based on the bestseller from Sex and the City consultants Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, "He's Just Not That Into You" tells the crushingly dull story of a group of a group of interconnected well to do white people (gays and people of color to the back of the bus, please) living in Baltimore, over the course of one year. The large cast is impressive, but also a bit of a puzzle - why, one wonders, did two Oscar winners attach their names to this froth? Ben Affleck, Jennifer Anniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Scarlett Johansson and Entourage star Kevin Connelly round out an A-list crew that also includes rising stars like Bradley Cooper and Ginnifer Goodwin. While each of them struggle valiantly to bring their considerable talents and charms to a risible script, even movie stars finally have to admit their limitations. If you've ever sat by the phone wondering why he said he would call and he hasn't, do you really need a book or a movie to spell it out for you? This film coyly purports to explode all the myths we create to shield ourselves from the awful truth, which is, you can't always get what you want. Hey, no kidding! The neurotic, self-involved, mystified women who populate "He's Just Not That Into You" receive perfectly unremarkable messages from reality like hammer blows to the skull. When one man takes it upon himself to school a hapless women in the way of men her shock and surprise is more pathetic than comical. "Maybe he called me and I didn't get the message. Or maybe he lost my number, or was out of town, or was hit by a cab, or his grandma died," says the irrepressibly romantic Gigi, played by Goodwin. "Or maybe he didn't call because he has no interest in seeing you again," replies her enthusiastic male interpreter. To some people this is probably funny, funny stuff, but other viewers may have to stop themselves from hooting. It's the first thing you learn in nursery school, after all, that not everyone is going to like you. But the girls of "He's Just Not That Into You" can't let it go. They obsess and mull and obsess and mull until they wear themselves out. It's not just the women receiving mixed signals, either. In the role of Conor, Irish American actor Connolly has to convince Anna, played by the almost supernaturally gorgeous Johansson, that he's the man she's been searching for all along. Unbeknownst to Conor, though, Anna has someone else in mind. All of this would be perfectly unremarkable soap opera, the stuff of old time romantic comedies, if it wasn't for the presence of some jarringly unresolved modern themes that constantly threaten to explode across the screen. One example is the dating advice offered to the straight people by the overtly effeminate martini drinking gay men who populate the fringes of this film. Gays, it turns out, know a thing or two about love's vicissitudes. And the film is happy to exploit them for fun and cheap laughs, provided that the gays don't do something awkward like ask, heaven help us, for the right to get hitched themselves. "He's Just Not That Into You" feels like it was written for a much earlier era, but it's being released this week, and it will probably vanish as soon as it opens. If the sight of a cynical young man telling clueless young women how to get and keep men is your idea of a good night out, you may enjoy it. If any of your friends are feminists, or were born after 1950, you might want to stay home.
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore