There are plenty of reasons to dismiss the new romantic comedy “He’s Just Not That Into You.” Some of the plot threads are a little too convenient and the characters are all part of that fantasy world where everyone is financially successful and beautiful.
Still, the film won me over, thanks in large part to actress Ginnifer Goodwin. Despite the presence of more well-known stars like Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Connelly, Drew Barrymore and Scarlett Johansson, Goodwin shines in an extremely charming breakout role.
Goodwin’s character Gigi is at the center of a film that intertwines several story arcs dealing with the highs and lows of romance.
Gigi is a neurotic young lady, desperately seeking Mr. Right, who strikes up a friendship with a bar owner (Justin Long) who’s willing to give her an inside look at how to read her potential boyfriends.
“Not That Into You” has several other subplots - including a married man (Bradley Cooper) who becomes infatuated with a young singer (Johansson) he meets in a supermarket, a couple (Affleck and Aniston) who have lived together for years, but have yet to take the next step to marriage, and a successful real estate agent (Kevin Connolly) who wants to be more than friends with the young singer.
Co-writers Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein pack plenty of romantic comedy cliches in their script, and Kwapis pulls out plenty of familiar tricks in his two-hour film.
There are moments where the filmmakers are clearly manipulating their audience, but judging from the screening I attended, it worked.
Then there are moments that are quite smart, most involving Goodwin, that help elevate the material slightly.
I’m not sure the good easily outweighs the bad, but it’s close enough that I eventually gave in and found myself having a good time.
With Valentine’s Day just a few days away, “He’s Just Not That Into You” proves to be the perfect date movie option. I mean really, what else would you take your date to see? “Friday the 13th”?
Opening this week
One of 2008’s best films - “The Wrestler” (A) - finally arrives in Bowling Green, giving film fans a chance to see Mickey Rourke in one of the premiere performances of the year.
Rourke plays Randy “The Ram” Robinson, an aging professional wrestler still holding on to a fading career, wrestling on the independent circuit.
His career is threatened when he learns his health is declining, forcing him to try to put the pieces of his life outside the ring back together.
Randy takes a full-time job at a grocery store, attempts to reconcile with his daughter (Evan Rachel Wood), and strikes up a potential romance with an aging exotic dancer (Marissa Tomei), who is coming to terms with her own fading career.
But eventually Randy begins to realize his life only makes sense when he is in the ring, and he sets out to make one final comeback.
Writer Robert D. Siegel has crafted an impressive character study that is also very knowledgeable about the seedy underbelly of independent wrestling, while director Darren Aronofsky wisely doesn’t try to glitz up this rather gloomy material.
Tomei is very deserving of her Oscar nomination, continuing her impressive run of film roles, but the real story of “The Wrestler” is Rourke, who should win the Academy Award for his performance.
Take nothing away from Sean Penn, who is probably the frontrunner for Best Actor for his role in “Milk,” but it’s unfathomable to imagine “The Wrestler” without Rourke - which almost happened before Nicolas Cage bowed out. It’s one of those rare cinematic experiences where an actor and a role come together in perfect harmony.
“The Wrester” is rated R for violence, nudity, language and some drug use and opens Friday at Great Escape 12.
— Sportswriter/movie reviewer Micheal Compton is just not that into you. But don’t fret: He’ll still take your questions and comments! E-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and wait with baited breath for his reply.