He’s Just Not That Into You stars a familiar cast of the whitest romantic comedy actors and actresses you know. Which means it’s a real challenge swallowing the proposition that this film takes place in the same city as The Wire, let alone the John Waters oeuvre. In truth, many of the cardboard interiors and outdoor locations were pretty obviously shot in California, and the sole recurring signifiers of local color are red bricks and crabs (Freudians, make of this what you will). Director Ken Kwapis (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) depicts Baltimore as a dirt-free town where sassy black women love them some “ribs and ice cream,” where Luis Guzmán, always reliable despite the role, plays a contractor who — gasp — employs illegals, where gay men are the repositories of all wisdom, and where white folks have well-paying jobs they don’t have to work hard at, or even at all.
Based on an Oprah-approved self-help book by former Sex and the City “consultant” Greg Behrendt, He’s Just Not That Into You has a plot even flimsier and more generic than the average Hollywood romcom. Genuine talent goes wasted (Ginnifer Goodwin, Bradley Cooper, Kris Kristofferson, Wilson Cruz), but mostly there’s a whole lot of Scarlett Johansson striping down to her underwear and proving doggedly that she’s the most artless ingénue working on the big screen today.
Although He’s Just Not That Into You promotes a fairly insidious view of heterosexual mating rituals, the movie is far too slight to warrant rigorous critical analysis. Blandly appealing and immediately forgettable, it’s about as compelling as a mediocre second date — it’s just not possible to be that into it.
Opens February 6