Did the book "He's Just Not That Into You" get lost in translation on the big screen?
We went to go see that romantic comedy He's Just Not That Into You because a.) we have tons real life experience on the topic and b.) we were huge, huge fans of the book by former Sex and the City writers Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo.
As much as it pains us to admit it, Greg's straight talk taught us a lot. We now know that if a guy gives us his card, doesn't ask for ours, and babbles something about "keeping in touch" he has no desire to see us naked. (Or call us afterward if he does.) We also know now that "busy" is a myth and men can operate phones. We had deluded ourselves of these realities in the past, but at our ripe old ages we've finally got it.
In fact, if it hadn't been for He's Just Not That Into You (book version) we'd still be blissfully unaware of the fact no guy we've ever dated has ever actually been into us. That knowledge in and of itself was revolutionary, which is why we were hoping for an equally dark, punch-in-the-stomach movie to shatter all the unrealistic Hollywood happy ending cliches that screw with our heads.
No gorgeous bad boys transforming into Goody McBoyfriend by the credits. No fairy tale weddings by men who aren't the "marrying type," no monogamy from the bed-hopper screwing everyone from his secretary to his nanny. None of that stuff.
In Greg Behrendt's world this doesn't happen. You are the rule, not the exception, he stresses. Knock it off with these romantic delusions of grandeur. Or as Justin Long's character Alex in the movie version says: "If a guy acts like he doesn't give a sh*t, it means he doesn't."
Which is why the cloying, saccharine and utterly predictable last 20 minutes of the movie severely disappointed us. We won't spoil it, other than to say we were being overly optimistic thinking that a Jennifer Aniston vehicle would give such a fantastic book justice or satisfy our cynicism. But we'll give credit where credit is due, there were some decent parts.
One that really had us thinking is when Alex, the Greg Behrendt of the movie, tells the starry-eyed GiGi (played by Ginnifer Goodwin), that chicks are basically just addicted to drama. GiGi goes on one date with Conor (Kevin Connolly) and is reduced to an adolescent when he doesn't call. She obsessively checks her phone, shows up at his favorite spots and leaves scripted voicemails. Worst of all, she internally beats herself up when that phone call is never returned.
We've all been there (maybe not since we were 19, shhh) but why do we do this?
Alex explains that women seem to turn even the most casual of relationships into a "sky is falling" type of adrenaline rush. After an admittedly mediocre first date, we'll still obsess over what we did wrong, and nit-pick every piece of conversation when we don't get that second date. Such experiences, he says, don't deserve such analysis.
He likens this to waiting until the last minute to pay a phone bill or finish a timely assignment. It's just another way we create a soap opera and emergency psychological case study out of situations that could very easily be an open and shut case. Which, in all honesty, is why the simple, golden rules in He's Just Not That Into You struck such a significant chord with women. Sometimes people (men) really are that cut and dry.
But are they? Perhaps the best thing about the movie was also its worst. The sweeping generalizations that made sense on the page seemed overly simplistic when applied on screen. At one point our sympathies were with the men—so are guys not allowed to be complicated? Sure they have penises, but does that mean they can't be indecisive and confused? They're still human, no?
And as far as the ladies, especially GiGi who was supposed to represent the trusting and naive nature of the female psyche, we felt much would be cured with a few good hobbies. We hear photography is a great creative outlet, and hey, spring is right around the corner so why not get in shape with a hip hop dance class? In fact, we'd like to start a new trend—everytime we find ourselves obsessively checking our phone to see if he's called, then its time to sign up for a class of some sort. Kickboxing, yoga, flame-throwing, basket weaving, cooking, whatever.
While we all want to fall in and love, and yes, an unexamined life may be one not worth living, it's just that much sweeter to answer his call while conjugating a sentence in French, working on an outline for a first novel, or mixing colors for that portrait we've been aching to paint.