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He's Just Not That Into You Sets Bar Low For Women

The smirky, overbearing, and subliminally hostile romantic primer He's Just Not That Into You—which sold a regrettable two million copies when it was published in 2004—seizes on some partial truths about the gender wars and blows them up into evolutionary gospel about the crossed wires of male-female dating behavior. The book's title is taken from a scene in Sex and the City and hinges on the solipsistic worldview of series consultant Greg Behrendt, with faint murmurs of watery feminist protest from co-writer Liz Tuccillo. Behrendt coyly 'fesses up to being a reformed rascal himself, then steams full-speed ahead to the conclusion that if he's that way, then so, too, is the rest of mankind. Further, he is the one to set us myopic females straight. Director Ken Kwapis is charged with hacking a romantic comedy out of that plotless guide for ditzy daters, played quite well here by assorted Jennifers Aniston, Connelly, and (Ginnifer) Goodwin, with Scarlett Johansson thrown in as the home-wrecker. If all you ask for is a few gay jokes, a perky score, pretty shots of Baltimore, and some clever but callow observations of sexual mores in the city, He's Just Not That Into You is an amiable enough night out. What's depressing about this movie—as well as forerunners Sex and the City and Mamma Mia!—is the low bar they set both for modern women and the movies that seek to represent them.

 
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