Push/He’s Just Not That Into You

He’s Just Not That Into You

2.5 Stars

I did have high hopes for this going in. Greg Behrendt was a stand up I enjoyed (he wrote the source book). It has an impressive cast. But it came across as Love Actually: American Style. Sadly, I was just not into He’s Just Not That Into.

Interconnecting stories of love and human behaviour comprise the film based on a bestselling self-help book. Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) has trouble reading the dating rituals of men after a mediocre date with Conner (Kevin Connolly) who is also dating Anna (Scarlett Johansson), but she just met and fell for Ben (Bradley Cooper) whose marriage is kinda on the rocks because of his smoking, which his wife Janine (Jennifer Connelly) has made it clear she doesn’t like. She works with both Gigi and Beth (Jennifer Aniston), who’s longterm boyfriend Neil (Ben Affleck) won’t marry her because he doesn’t believe in marriage. Oh… and Mary (Drew Barrymore) has relationship issues as far as status unknown. Oh… and Conner’s best friend Alex (Justin Long) starts dispensing relationship advice to Gigi.

I felt to best exemplify exactly how I felt about this movie… by providing the synopsis in the most annoying way possible. Which is what this movie amounts to… whiney young rich people annoyingly discussing their love lives. There was no relatability to any of the characters. Sure there were certain aspects that I could relate to. And certainly the situations they were put in are relatable. But the characters, and unfortunately the actors playing them, were just a means to an end. They were incidental. You could play musical chairs with the actor/role and it would have no bearing on the movie. Also… if Jennifer Aniston’s biggest problem is Ben Affleck not marrying her… she’s on frickin’ easy street.

I do not find it hard to believe that people like this exist. What I find it hard to believe that they expect us, the viewing public, to sit in a theatre and say “I totally get Neil,” or “I sympathize with Gigi.” Like I said, on a basic level, the situations themselves, are relatable, but the essential plot devices are not what you base the movie around. You build from them.

Perhaps had they handed the reins to someone other than the guy who offered us Dunston Checks In. Though to Ken Kwapis’ credit, he did a few episodes of “Freaks and Geeks”, which is an undeniably great show, which had 18 great episodes, and a grand total of zero bad ones.

I give it kudos for situational relatability, but which is unfortunately hindered by the complete lack of compassion or empathy for the characters. This is one movie that if it wanted to, and even tried, it could have been a great, and a good American Love Actually, which had one thing going for it… characters you actually liked.

Push

3 Stars

Do you remember back a few years ago, there was a great show that was on television… about people with special powers, coming to terms with it. There was a shady organization hunting them down. Normal people paired up with people with powers… “Heroes” it was called. That was a great show. The show that’s on now called “Heroes” is a shell of its former self, that is rapidly circling the drain. I bring this up because I want to dispell the comparisons of Push to current “Heroes.” Push is what “Heroes” used to be, and should still be. And with that… “Heroes” references end……………………NOW

After witnessing the death of his father at the hands of the ruthless Division, Nick Grant (Chris Evans), a mover (telekinetic) has exiled himself to Hong Kong in an effort stay off the radar. Yeah, about that, a super watcher (psychic) predicted he would do this, and that a pusher(force thoughts into one’s head), Kira (Camilla Belle), would escape division and seek his help. The daughter of this watcher, another watcher named Cassie (Dakota Fanning) comes to Nick’s aid to protect themselves and the pusher from a more powerful pusher/Division agent (Djimon Hounsou), who, incidentally, killed Nick’s father.

It clocks in under 2 hours, but it’s stilla bout 20 minutes too long. I’ve never had a problem with long movies. But it had a pacing problem. They could have cut some of the fatty meat from the film and it still would have been good, and most likely would have been better. Director Paul McGuigan has a recurring problem with flow. Lucky Number Slevin had the same problem. Too long due to extraneous scenes. Trim the fat, and it’s better.

Sometimes I think I’m the only one who enjoys the work of Chris Evans (Cellular). Sure he’s not the next Sean Penn or George Clooney (though considering Penn and Clooney’s early filmographies, it’s not entirely out of the question), but he’s no Keanu. He’s a decent actor and at times downright good (see Sunshine). And he proves himself to be a thoroughly comptent and entertaining leading man.

Fanning (Man On Fire) is easing her transition from precocious (and eerily too smart) child star to more mature material. I have a feeling, and am truly hoping she follows the path of Jodie Foster and Ron Howard on transition from child star to A-Lister. We’re rooting for you Dakota.

It truly is “Heroes” when it was good, but unfortunately it ends up being a movie that just is. It offers up nothing great. It comes and goes, and won’t leave a mark. It just exists for the purpose of existing. It is a feather in no one’s cap.

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