Rule Number One: He’s Just Not That Into You

Rule Number One: He's Just Not That Into You

Shreya Shankar

Despite the razor-sharp advice the title suggests, the movie itself delivers hope, laughter and a little misplaced sexism.

Within the first 10 minutes of a whopping 129, an absurdity in women's perceptions of men is exposed. “[Women] are all programmed to believe that if a guy acts like a total jerk, that means he likes you," the narrator Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) points out. From a tense love triangle between a provocative yoga teacher, a married man, and his stable, uptight wife to the more light-hearted stories of a technologically-inept woman looking for Prince Charming on MySpace, and a committed couple disagreeing on marriage, the movie's all-star ensemble cast addresses nearly every type of relationship crash.
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At the heart of the movie is Gigi, a painfully desperate yet ever-optimistic romantic who hasn't quite gotten the memo on the "rules" of dating. Fortunately, she is accompanied by Alex (Justin Long), a wise and cynical player who could write an encyclopedia on the subject. Alex plays the barbed voice  of the movie, informing Gigi at every turn of her romantic escapades that her would-be soulmate "just isn't interested."

While the women are Hollywood's cream of the chick-flick crop, the men portrayed in the movie seem frequently outshined. Besides Alex's caustic character, the male leads are constantly outdone by the women in performance, vivacity, and looks—hello, Scarlett Johansson anyone?—forcing the females to drive the plot. Kevin Connolly's character was the most dismal, with a largely pathetic and unlovable personality and few redeeming lines. Posted alongside the likes of Goodwin, Drew Barrymore and Johansson, Connolly comes off as more of a bipolar baby porcupine than a successful real estate agent.

Surreptitiously biting and comfortably satirical at its best, the movie definitely has its moments. Outside of those moments, however, the implications about sexism and gender roles in today's society are a bit jarring. Alex's oodles of romantic wisdom present a somewhat misogynistic image of men. "Just because you like to lead doesn’t mean he wants to dance. Some traditions are born of nature and last through time for a reason," he claims. Suddenly, it seems like a woman taking initiative automatically results in a lifelong loveless rut.

So … Sadies, anyone?