Who's In It: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Connolly, Bradley Cooper, Ginnifer Goodwin, Scarlett Johansson, Kris Kristofferson, Justin Long
The Basics: Based on a catchphrase from a dirty-talking sitcom, it became a self-help book full of harsh truths about how awful everyone really is and how it's a miracle that anyone ever falls in love at all. And now it's a sitcommy movie about how awful everyone is... except for the characters in this particular movie. They're really nice and they're going to fall in love, of course. So what you've got is the Snakes on a Plane of romantic comedies, one thing over and over and over. He didn't call? Catchphrase time (well, sort of--they never actually use the title in the film, but you get me). He doesn't want to get married? Please enjoy this catchphrase. Are you sad about that jerky guy? Catchphrase. And it takes over two hours for them to exhaust the possibilities. Less than that to exhaust you.
Whats The Deal? Obviously if you care about movies where people behave like people in real life or about consistency of message, then you're going to hate this film. Because it sets you up to be on board for the unvarnished truth about heterosexuality (with some sassy one-liner-delivering gay pals along for the ride to give all the single ladies the 411 about men, honey) and then pulls the rug out from under your feet. For over 120 minutes the moral is "You are not the lone romantic survivor, you're going to drown like everyone else." And then the guy you were supposed to write off suddenly transforms and proves that no, in fact, you ARE a prettyprettyprincess and he changed for you. If you're on board for being straight-up lied to, then go spend that ticket money.
In Spite Of All The Jive-Talking Going On, Who Makes It Worth Watching: Jennifer Aniston. Here's where her tabloid life helps you get on board with her instead of distracting you. You're like, "Jen knows! She's been there!" And then she gives a Rachel-ish line delivery and you laugh and you're totally into her. Also, Scar-Jo may be the current reigning queen of traipsing through a movie like it's a one-woman show and not caring about who else happens to be walking through her shot.
And Co-Starring Enormous Piles Of Cash: When a movie is lame, you can always ignore the insult to your intelligence by fantasizing that you have the same Viking stove the characters own and all of the sauces and fondues you could whip up if only you, too, possessed the chef's-grade equipment to do the job. And then they have some great art that you'd buy if you had a spare $20K to drop, or a couch from Design Within Reach. And you're happy, pretending your life is going to become Slumdog Millionaire instead of Wendy and Lucy for two decent seconds. That's this movie. Everyone is RICH. It's like they're feeding a whole bunch of warm cookies right into your eyes.
Stop Right There, Drew Fans: She's just not that in the movie all that much.