It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Ever noticed how many self-help books are limited to the insight expressed in their titles? You look at the cover, you know everything inside. The rest is just writing. I asked Amazon to "surprise me" with a page from inside the best-seller He's Just Not That Into You, and it jumped me to page 17, where I read: "My belief is that if you have to be the aggressor, if you have to pursue, if you have to do the asking out, nine times out of 10, he's just not that into you."
I personally would not be interested in a woman who needed to buy a book to find that out. Guys also figure out that when she never returns your calls and is inexplicably always busy, she's just not that into you. What is this, brain surgery? I have tried, but I cannot image what was covered in the previous 16 pages of that book. I am reminded of the book review once written by Ambrose Bierce: "The covers of this book are too far apart."
The movie version of "He's Just Not That Into You" dramatizes this insight with comic vignettes played by actors who are really too good for this rom-com. Jennifer Aniston in particular has a screen presence that makes me wonder why she rarely takes on the kinds of difficult roles her co-stars Jennifer Connelly, Scarlett Johansson and Drew Barrymore have played. There are depths there. I know it.
The movie takes place in modern-day Baltimore, where those four, and Ginnifer Goodwin, play women who should ask themselves: Is he really that into me? Aniston, for example, plays Beth, who has been living for years with Neil (Ben Affleck), who is perfect in every respect, except that he is disinclined to marry her. "We're happy just the way we are," he argues. The old "if it's not broke, don't fix it" routine. But if a woman knows her loved one won't ever want to marry her, it's her heart that's broke, and there is only one way to fix it. There are even evolutionary theories to explain this.