Director: Ken Kwapis
Screenwriter: Ken Kwapis
Cast: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Ginnifer Goodwin, Scarlett Johansson, Justin Long
Release Date: 2009-02-25
This latte-frothy, star-studded, overstuffed romantic comedy got its title (and inspiration) from a Sex and the City gag line that spawned a best-seller by Liz Tuccillo and Greg Behrendt, whom you may remember as the spiky-haired chat-show tool who briefly ruined daytime TV. The author and his soul patch cameo here, but the real star power’s in the huge cast of tabloid darlings.
The film’s set in an alternate dimension where Baltimore’s the epicenter of romantically neurotic, club-life-loving supermodel-hot singles, where such gorgeous women have trouble getting dates. This Neverland also sports zippy cultural relevance for MySpace references (but not Facebook), and breaks verisimilitude by featuring people who allude to texting, but spend time chatting on clunky landline phones.
But it ain’t without charm, namely Goodwin (Big Love) as the bubbly but romantically hapless Gigi, who ends up getting earnest dating advice from smarmily charming bar owner Alex (Long), a bronco whom she’d not-so-secretly like to buck. Meanwhile, her co-workers, at the world’s best looking office, struggle to nail their men into domesticity; Barrymore’s surfing for love online, while working at an alt-weekly staffed entirely by chatty gay guys. Then Scarlett Johansson parachutes in from Slut Mountain, playing exactly the sort of pouty-lipped blond home-wrecker that the flick’s target demo loves to hate.
At first glance, Ben Affleck’s like a special effect, his megastardom threatening to overwhelm his bid at character-actor status, until you notice he’s giving the most understated and credible performance here. He has real chemistry with Jennifer Aniston, but their semi-mature “Will we ever get married?” storyline isn’t juicy enough to carry the picture, and gets pushed to the bench. Some couplings work, some don’t, but if you wait a few moments the movie will jump to the next one.