Girls are taught a lot of stuff growing up. If a guy punches you he likes you. Never try to trim your own bangs and someday you will meet a wonderful guy and get your very own happy ending. Every movie we see, Every story we’re told implores us to wait for it, the third act twist, the unexpected declaration of love, the exception to the rule. But sometimes we’re so focused on finding our happy ending we don’t learn how to read the signs. How to tell from the ones who want us and the ones who don’t, the ones who will stay and the ones who will leave. And maybe a happy ending doesn’t include a guy, maybe… it’s you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is… just… moving on. Or maybe the happy ending is this, knowing after all the unreturned phone calls, broken-hearts, through the blunders and misread signals, through all the pain and embarrassment you never gave up hope.
The above is the last line from the movie, and it sums up the movie for you. The movie was based on a ‘best seller’ book and was meant to be a guide for women in handling relationships or trying to understand and interpret the various signs that men send out. If a guy treats some girl like shit, he genuinely means that or if a guy doesn’t call back then he seriously doesn’t want to call. Stuck in such confusing atmosphere is Gigi[Ginnifer Goodwin], who just cannot decipher what a guy said when they ended their date. She acts too hard and sometimes looks desperate. That’s when Alex[Justin Long] enters and starts making her understand how to read such signals.
Then we have a married couple who have known and been in love with each other from 6th grade, Janine[Jennifer Connelly] and Ben[Bradley Cooper], playing out the couple. Ben marries Janine under duress, but he does not feel the love and warmth anymore, adding to this is his wife’s constant suspicion of his smoking habits. That’s when he meets Anna[Scarlett Johannson] who is really into him. What path should Ben choose? Go on with life and his wife or fall in love all over again or just have a fling with his new found muse and spice things up. Should Anna hope that Ben will fall in love with her and walk out on his wife?
At the other end of this quandry is Neil[Ben Affleck] and Beth[Jennifer Aniston] who have been in a relationship for 7 years but not married yet. Beth wants marriage while Ben thinks otherwise. On a bitter note, they have a fallout because Beth doesn’t see a future in their relationship.
And of course, there is Conor[Kevin Connolly] who has a touch-and-go moments with Anna. They are always there for each other, but not in the same way. Conor goes out on a date with Gigi but does not call back and Anna is heed over heals in love with Ben who is married. Will Anna return Conor’s affections?
The movie is a complex web of relationships. And one thing that strikes you is the general sense of ambiguity in the character. I mean, how can Anna hope that Ben will divorce his wife and marry her? Just because a similar thing happened to some guy somewhere, who found the love of his life after getting married? That’s just an exception and not a rule. Why is Gigi so naive and gullible? Has she not learnt anything from her past experiences? I think the movie was aimed at telling us the difference between exception and rules. What works for one couple [or two people who are dating or in a relationship] need not work for others. There is destiny, situation, circumstances and above all, human choices which change by the moment.
The only characters with a sane mind are Beth, Neil and Alex. They are the only people who have their heads on their shoulders. When Alex advises Gigi, it all makes so much sense. Or when Neil and Beth talk about their needs from the relationship, that’s so practical.
The movie is a nice watch and pretty interesting in parts. But more or less, its about the confused dating/relationship problems that leave you a little bored towards the end.