By Dan Mecca

What do you get when you put Scarlett Johannson, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Justin Long, Bradley Cooper, “E” from Entourage, Drew Barrymore and several other very attractive recognizable twenty and thirty-something actors into a romantic comedy that attempts to be everything romantic comedies aren’t?

Do I have to answer the question? This movie is a light, cute, witty, contrived bunch of connecting stories, highlighting the most important portions of the best-selling relationship guidebook of the same title. The book, for those who have not read it, is a O&A-styled collection of advice on the opposite sex.

The movie is less serious than the sum of its part, in large part because none of the characters have any depth; they are all simply incarnations of the real-life subjects of the questions addressed in the book. That being said, these one-note characters are ALL played by attractive, talented actors/actresses who you will recognize from other films and TV shows. Actors like the Apple commercial guy (a.k.a. Justin Long), who stands out among the star-studded cast with a considerable amount of spunk. Long always looks as though he’s having fun with his role. And Ben Affleck, who is actually really charming here, reminding one of better days, pre-Gigli/Paycheck/Daredevil/Surviving Christmas.

Director Ken Kwapis doesn’t do anything special, pretty much shooting everything at about a medium angle, giving the actors enough room to not really try to hard while staying close enough for viewers to admire their complexions. After all, Jennifer Connolly is fucking beautiful (and it is also refreshing to see her in a happy movie – you know, one that does not involve death and/or needles). And that’s pretty much what this movie is: a studio-backed “anti-romantic comedy.”

It’s rebellious enough in its observations to make the people paying to watch it feel good about agreeing with the advice offered on screen but never get uncomfortable that any of the shit going on is hitting to close to home. Because it is not real! It’s just a movie! Yay!

And it all works. It is a fun movie that both guys and gals will enjoy. So go and enjoy it. But please don’t break up with your significant other based on anything you see in this movie. That would be stupid. And you don’t want to be stupid. Read the book if you really want a reason to dump your lover.

6.5 out of 10

What do you think? Did you think this flick was better? Worse?

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