We’ve now been in quarantine for over six weeks, and I’m running out of things to watch. What about Netflix, you say? Ha! I laugh in the face of Netflix. Too Hot to Handle? Done! Tiger King? Obviously. Outer Banks? Duh! You name it, I’ve seen it. So now that I’ve exhausted every option, I’m rewatching old movies that I used to have on repeat. Today’s film? He’s Just Not That Into You, which is one of those movies that has many interconnecting stories and features a plethora of A-listers that never were on set at the same time but wanted an easy paycheck. I’m going to recap it for you here, and friends, if you thought this movie was some sexist bullsh*t in 2009, just you WAIT until you watch it in 2020.
We open on a playground scene. Baby Ginnifer Goodwin is getting bullied by a little boy, and before you ask, no, I’m not bothering to learn any of these characters’ names, so get used to it. Anyway. Ginnifer’s mom tells her that’s because he likes her. In voiceover, she tells us that for years, our fellow women let us believe this lie that if men are mean to us, it means they’re into us. She says it’s bad advice and just not true. She condemns it! I’ll urge you to bookmark this part right here, because it is the idea upon which the entire movie is built. If he’s mean to you, He’s Just Not That Into You. Remember this moment.
We’ve moved off the playground and into a bar, as one does. Ginnifer is an adult on a date with Kevin Connolly, who is riding high off his Entourage success. The waitress asks if they’d like another round. Ginny is eager and Kevin hesitantly agrees. What a lucky girl! They leave the date, he kisses her on the cheek, and it is obvious to anyone with eyes that this is going nowhere.
After they part ways, he immediately calls Scarlett Johansson because he’s just tipsy enough to think maybe she’ll suck his dick. Our heroine, Ginnifer Goodwin, thinks that he is calling her to leave a message. WHAT?! This is where I have to point something out, friends. This movie is not about men not being that into us. It is actually about a very sick individual, Ginnifer, who comes up with fantastical scenarios in her head based on little to no evidence, and who truly needs to be committed. Or should at least be forced to sit in the corner wearing a straitjacket for one hour. I will present my case throughout this recap, and I think by closing statements you’ll all be ready to vote to convict. This is Exhibit A.
Now we pivot to a grocery store. Scarlett Johansson wins a free cooler and acts like it is her long-lost identical twin sister with whom she has been reunited with after many years of searching. She’s so happy to see this cooler that she cannot contain herself and gives Bradley Cooper, the man in line to check out behind her, a huge hug. I think this is supposed to be a meet-cute? But should meet-cutes make you feel this icky inside? Then they chat outside the Quickchek.
Bradley Cooper: I can help you with your music career
Oh and what do you know, when Bradley gets into the car his buddy Ben Affleck is waiting for him! At least he has a cheating guru to rely on.
Ben Affleck then goes home to his girlfriend, Jennifer Aniston. It is now that I start to wonder if we’re in a movie, or is this just the darkest timeline?
Jennifer nags Ben because her little sister is getting married and they are not yet married after many years together. He tells her that “people who get married are not to be trusted.” WHAT?! That’s the best excuse you could come up with? Not “marriage is a sham of an institution”? “We don’t need a piece of paper to prove our love and commitment to one another”? There are so many pages he could have taken out of the “Man Who Doesn’t Want To Get Married But Can’t Stand Being Alone” playbook that would have been at least a little convincing; this one doesn’t even make any sense.
Next, we get a montage of Ginnifer acting absolutely out of her mind after her date with Kevin Connolly. She leaves her flip phone (lol) open during yoga (not how that worked, even back in the early 2000s), tells Jennifer Connelly that she knows where he hangs out, and then we see her at work with Jen C and Jen A (my GOD Jennifer is a popular name), and they are psychoanalyzing her date. Ginny! Just pour some wine in that work mug, get loose, and give him a call! As it turns out, that is what she does, and it also turns out that was some very bad advice. Whoops!
Kevin does not pick up, obviously, and Ginnifer leaves him a voicemail, which I just so happened to find a handy GIF of:
The ways we women will embarrass ourselves for a mediocre white man under 5’7” are truly astounding.
After that disaster, Ginnifer goes to the restaurant that Kevin said he hangs out in and tells the hostess that she is meeting someone! Exhibit B. You are not meeting someone, Ginnifer, you’re stalking. You’re working your way toward a restraining order. This is where she meets Justin Long, who will continue to demean women the entire movie in what I can only assume the director thought was a charming way?
This is when Justin tells her about “The Rule.” He says, “If a guy is treating you like he doesn’t give a sh*t, he genuinely doesn’t give a sh*t.” I have no problem with the rule in theory; in fact, I think it’s a good rule and one I tell my friends every time they try to triple-text a guy who doesn’t even watch their Instagram stories. The problem, however, is that the movie spends the next hour and change disproving their own rule. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
So then Ginnifer goes home, eats some mini muffins, and comes to the revelation that if a man cheats on you at the beginning of a relationship, or is otherwise awful, they don’t really care about you at all. That’s all she came up with?! I’ve come up with more profound revelations after chugging two Four Lokos at a frat party my freshman year of college.
OMG Drew Barrymore and ScarJo are getting pedicures. I dream of the day I can do that again. My feet do not belong to me anymore. My feet belong to Gollum. Anyway. ScarJo tells Drew about how she wants to pursue a married man (Bradley Cooper). Drew tells her about a homewrecker she knows who got a happy ending, so ScarJo should go for it! Reader, this is bad advice.
Bradley Cooper shuts ScarJo down, having not heard the story of the happy homewrecker, I guess. So Scarlett goes right to Kevin Connolly’s house for a foot rub and some compliments. This might be the one realistic aspect of the entire movie.
Now Jennifer Aniston goes home and picks a fight with Ben Affleck about the marriage thing. She says to him, “I need you to stop being nice to me unless you’re going to marry me after.” How funny, I use that exact line on all my first dates. I think you all can understand why I’m still single now, huh?
Jen asks Ben if he’s ever going to marry her. He doesn’t answer. It’s okay, Jen! In 2020 he’ll be parading around LA without a mask and calling the paparazzi to take his picture during a global pandemic, so I promise you won’t regret walking out!
Bradley Cooper then calls ScarJo back. He apologizes for not wanting to cheat on his wife earlier, he’s ready now. They make a plan to meet up at his office to “talk about her career.”
Meanwhile, Ginnifer is at happy hour. She meets a guy. She gives him her number, he gives her his, and then he says he looks forward to hearing from her. Instead of playing it cool, Ginnifer immediately chases him out and interrogates him like she is Carrie Mathison trying to figure out the mole. This is Exhibit C.
ScarJo goes to Bradley Cooper’s office and asks him why he is married. God, Karen, you can’t just ask people why they’re married! He said that he and Jennifer Connelly dated in college and then she gave him an ultimatum that they get married or break up. What a beautiful love story! Can I submit it to The Way We Met? Then he paces around his office telling her that she’s hot. I will say, the writers really nailed the lines for dudes that like to cheat on their significant others, because I’ve never once had a man with a partner that’s attempting to pursue me text that he loves my personality.
And now the very unstable Ginnifer is taping the card, which she ripped up, of happy hour dude back together so that she can call him. I guess she’s really looking forward to some less-than-mediocre conversation where he talks about his high salary before he makes her split the check, falls asleep on top of her after two pumps, and then texts her the next day asking if she’s on birth control.
Instead, she calls Justin Long because she needs someone to emotionally slap her across the face.
That’ll do the trick!
Now Ginnifer is on a different date and making out with a guy on his couch. He tells her he’s leaving tomorrow so he’ll be out of touch for a little bit. Better have sex tonight! It’s at this point that I’ve got to wonder how this woman presumably made it to adulthood in one piece being so naive. She goes to the bathroom to call Justin Long for advice. He tells her that she needs to go home, this guy is a liar, and doesn’t like her. He also tells her to take her time in the bathroom and make him sweat. WHAT IS THAT ADVICE?! Make him think you have bowel troubles and you’re just sh*tting uncontrollably in his bathroom? Just leave! You don’t have to make him think your IBS is flaring up just to get out of f*cking him! This is Exhibit D.
Bradley Cooper and Ben Affleck go boating. Bradley tells Ben that no guy actually wants to get married. And if they do, all they can think about is all the girls they’re going to miss out on. Wow, I didn’t know that trash was physically capable of sailing a boat.
Our favorite maniac, Ginnifer, goes to meet up with Justin Long and a friend he is setting her up with. His friend doesn’t show because Justin “mixed up the dates”, so instead he spends the whole evening telling her that women are dramatic, she’s pathetic like a basset hound (don’t you drag innocent puppies into this, Justin!!) and that if a girl doesn’t like him he just finds another girl with smaller pores and bigger implants. Wait, what? You judge your date on the size of their pores? No one should be taking this man’s advice.
Now we’re at ScarJo’s apartment and Bradley is there, and I guess they just had sex. Did I miss something? I mean, I did zone out for about 90 seconds to reevaluate all the life decisions that lead me to what is clearly the Bad Place, so maybe I missed a transition of some kind. Or perhaps this movie really is that clunky. Either could be true!
Ginnifer is sitting on her couch with her landline next to her. Is this 2009 or is this 1999? Because in 2009 I legit had my third iPhone. 2009 was the future! Justin Long calls and invites her to his party, where I can only assume they will be watching movies they rented from Blockbuster, playing on Tamagotchis, and listening to Pearl Jam.
Then the next day, she goes to work and she tells all her friends that Justin Long is into her because he… *checks notes*… invited her to his party. Exhibit E.
She’s also convinced that Justin mixing up the dates for his friend wasn’t actually a mistake, he has no friend named Bill, and that he just wanted to go out with her. So the man that has advocated for being upfront this entire movie, albeit in a pretty dickish way, is trying to mind trick her into going on a date? Now I’m not just concerned about her mental capacity, I also think she needs hearing aids. But I’m the only skeptical one here, because she convinces the Jennifers at work it’s true. Idiots abound!
Now we’re at Home Depot with Jennifer Connelly and Bradley Cooper. Jen and Brad are fighting over hardwood floors. She says fake wood is a liar and she doesn’t like that it’s pretending to be real wood. What a metaphor! It’s so profound, Bradley tells her he cheated on her. And then he’s basically like, “so I guess you hate me, I’m gonna move out so I can f*ck ScarJo in peace.” But then she tells him not to move out, and he somehow gets roped into staying together. I feel like this conversation about the state of their marriage probably should have been longer and not conducted next to thousands of tiny little shiplap samples, but ok.
Now we’re at this party. Ginnifer is snacking and telling people that something is going to happen between her and Justin and that she is “more than a guest.” Justin asks Ginnifer for some help and she asks “kind of like co-hosting?” This is Exhibit F. It is here that I must say I do not know any single women that would ever act this way. We just don’t happen to have boyfriends, we’re not deranged. I feel like this movie is really painting us in a false light. Also, nobody goes to a party wanting to host, that’s just extra work.
After the party is over, Ginnifer cleans up Justin’s entire apartment while he plays video games with a Blake Lively look-alike. They couldn’t get the actual Blake for this movie? They sprung for everyone else. Ginnifer says that it’s 3am, so the Blake-a-like leaves. Ginnifer lingers. Justin tells her he has to go to bed, clearly blowing her off, and so naturally she jumps him. She says she thinks they are in a relationship (Exhibit G; at this point, I fully expect to make it to the end of the alphabet and then into some numbers), and he reiterates that he told her if a guy is into a girl he would make it happen. He calls her insane (fair) and they get into a big fight and she finally goes home, which probably involves getting on a spaceship to whatever foreign planet she lives on.
That scene was the most horrifying thing that has been on my TV in years, and I fall asleep to Dateline every Friday night. And the writers really got it wrong. Sure, sometimes women and men start out as friends and end up dating. I mean, it’s never happened to me, but I’ve heard about it on the internet! But I just don’t think that after Justin telling her all this time that a guy would make it happen if he’s interested, that she would just throw herself at him when he’s not even acting interested. He’d rather play Call of Duty than acknowledge her presence! This would never happen.
Now we’re at the office, and Jennifer Connelly is telling Ginnifer that Bradley Cooper is cheating on her. She says she needs to take responsibility because she forced him into getting married and now she’s not fun anymore. And that they never have sex anymore. Ginnifer tells Jennifer that it is not her fault (yes, that sentence killed me inside too). This is the only not insane thing Ginnifer has said this whole movie, and I am proud of her brief moment of clarity. I mean, even a broken clock is right twice a day.
OH NO, THIS SCENE. Bradley Cooper has Scarlett in his office and her positive career meeting is making them hornier than the idea of losing $20,000 is to those kids on Too Hot To Handle. They start to get frisky in his office when his wife shows up! He shoves Scarlett in the closet, screws his wife, and she leaves. That office has an awful lot of windows for the amount of sex going on it, but who am I to judge?
Scarlett comes out of the closet and tells Bradley he’s a disgusting excuse for a man. But like, you knew he was married? And you were about to do the same thing with him?
ScarJo is sad after being forced to listen to Bradley Cooper’s muffled grunts and Jennifer Connelly’s unenthused heavy breathing, so she calls up Kevin Connolly and finally lets him bang her again. She says she wants to be with him, but as we zoom in on her cold, empty eyes in the middle of the night, her face reveals the truth. Once again, this plot line is the only one in the whole film that captures the truth.
Jennifer Connelly goes back to her house and realizes that Bradley Cooper has been lying to her all along. She smashes a mirror, which is foolish because it means seven years of bad luck! But I guess she did have to be married to a dude who picks up mistresses at the bodega for the last seven years, so maybe she’s already done her penance.
Jennifer Aniston and Ben get back together and she says she doesn’t need to get married, he just needs to let her eat Wheat Thins in bed. Amen, sister! But maybe dream bigger. Eat a four-course meal in bed. Beds are the new tables! I mean all of that hypothetically of course, haven’t done it myself lately, no way.
Kevin Connolly takes ScarJo to visit a house and he says he wants to buy it. Well, that escalated quickly. She can no longer hide her disgust for him and dumps him. I hope he can get that deposit back!
Bradley comes back to his house and finds his sh*t nicely packed and left on the stairs. Wow. If neatly folding your cheating spouse’s items as a way of telling them you want a divorce is not the sign of a sociopath, I don’t know what is.
Ginnifer gets back from her date with Bill. So Bill does exist! Justin Long knocks on her door. He tells her he fell for her and he kisses her. He tells her she is the exception to the rule. WHAT? You mean to tell me that the 120 minutes this movie just spent telling me that women are the rule and not the exception is actually completely going back on its word?! I AM SHOOK.
AND THEN! Ben Affleck proposes to Jennifer Aniston. She is also the exception! I’m suing for my time back and emotional distress.
Finally, we cut to ScarJo singing a sad song in a bar and wearing ostentatious red lipstick, obviously to remind us that homewreckers end up alone. Bradley Cooper is back at the Quickchek buying beer, and Jennifer Connelly moves into a new house to begin a new life with an unsmashed mirror.
This part of the movie is where I really lose it. It just spent HOURS telling us that if a man is mean to you, he doesn’t like you. And then in 30 seconds it dismantles that entire premise with the equivalent of a “jk lol” text. While I know I shouldn’t expect too much out of a movie whose script was clearly written on the back of a napkin, I can’t help but think that this sends a horrible message to us single women around the world. He doesn’t act into you, but he really is (Ginnifer!), he says he won’t marry you but then he does (Jennifer!), I’m confused. Do I believe what men say, or do I not? In fact, the only single woman that seems remotely real to me, the one who is enticed by a hot married man, and dates a guy she doesn’t actually like because she wants to be loved, is the only woman who gets an ending that seems sad and hopeless. But she’s the only woman who even partially understands the message of “he’s just not that into you.” The movie actually punishes the idea it presents. They should have just called it He’s Definitely Into You: How To Snag A Lying Liar Who Doesn’t Want To Get Married.
We end with Ginnifer finally co-hosting a party, and telling us in voiceover to “never, ever give up hope that you’ll find love.” Sure! That, or you could just beat a man down into loving out in what can only be some form of Stockholm Syndrome!
I hope you all enjoyed reminiscing as much as I did, now I’m off to text the dude who was rude to me at Shop Rite yesterday. He totally wants it.
Images: Netflix; Giphy (5)