He's Just Not That Into You is famously based on a gag from a Sex and the City episode that became a bestselling self-help book. The result is about as feeble an effort as one might expect from a film that replaces character and story with broad and banal generalizations about the way men and women relate to each other. Most of the dating maxims revolve around Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin), whose sole personality trait seems to be an overwhelming need to be coupled. Gigi's efforts to land real estate broker Conor (Kevin Connolly) result in her meeting Alex (Justin Long), whose views on dating are more pragmatic than Barack Obama's economic policy. For those unfamiliar with the source material the basic idea here is that if a man doesn't call you within 3 days he isn't playing games, he's not interested. Since a man's apparent lack of interest is almost an aphrodisiac to Gigi (the appealing Goodwin is really just reduced to one character trait), she begins to wonder if Alex might be carrying a torch under all his cynicism. Three guesses how it turns out. The rest of the film actually has little to do with the central thesis, but rather is made up of shorter chapters called "Technology Makes Dating Confusing" (Drew Barrymore as a lovelorn MySpacephile) and "I Want To Sleep With Scarlett Johansson," in which Bradley Cooper and Kevin Connolly both ponder rearranging their lives around ScarJo's "singer" and her low-cut tops. Lost somewhere in all this are Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, and a badly miscast Jennifer Connelly. I would love to have seen what Woody Allen could have done with this cast, but the film's schematic view of human interaction left me cold.
As appealing as Isla Fisher is in Confessions of a Shopaholic, the arc of her clothes-obsessed Manhattanite is just too predictable. I don't fault the producers for their timing since they couldn't have known there was going to be an economic crisis, but couldn't they have made Fisher's character more than a Carrie Bradshaw wannabe? The presence of John Goodman, Joan Cusack, Kristin Scott Thomas, and John Lithgow help make Confessions bearable, but other than its cast and Fisher's charm there's nothing here but a vision of New York life that's fast becoming stale.