Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Thoughts on "He's Just Not That Into You"

In young adulthood's answer to classic high school movies like Dazed and Confused, Mean Girls, and myriad others, He's Just Not That Into You follows the lives of several stunningly attractive people as they try to navigate the choppy waters of life and love. No real person's life is as full of attractive people as this movie's set. We're talking Jennifer Anniston, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Connelly, Bradley Cooper, Scarlett Johansson, and...ok, Justin Long isn't THAT attractive. But still, we're talking the '27 Yankees of current acting hotties. Brad Pitt COULDN'T have been in this movie, or the camera lenses might have spontaneously combusted. In any event, it's actually pretty well done, although we're asked to believe that, of all of the above actors, Long is the slick womanizer. Hmm....

But the point of the post is one of the subplots. In fact, the only plots are subplots. One of the plots, then. Jennifer Anniston and Ben Affleck are a long-time couple. They live together (and have for seven years), are in love, but Affleck doesn't believe in marriage. Anniston thinks that that's ok with her, but through a series of events, realizes that it's not ok. She ends up putting an ultimatum to Affleck: Marry me or get out. Affleck, put on the spot, gets out. He gets so far out, in fact, that he goes to live on a boat. All the better to give him the "wind-swept hottie" look. In any event, Anniston's father has a heart attack, and her brothers-in-law (her sisters are all married) prove to be no help at all. Just as Anniston is about to break down, Affleck shows up again, unrequested, to help with the dishes. This tiny gesture means everything. Anniston tells Affleck that he's more of a husband to her without the ring that her sister's bozos are for them.

And that's when it happens. Affleck moves back in, and quite a touching scene, proposes to Anniston. Freed of the obligation to marry, Affleck feels moved to do the thing that Anniston always wanted. This happens in real life, too. When you feel the pressure to do something, the desire to do it fades. Freed from that pressure, the desire can thrive. Christianity is like this. When we feel the pressure, i.e. "What would Jesus do?," we become afraid and stressed. When the pressure is removed, i.e. "Jesus came to save sinners," the "what would Jesus do?" stuff starts to happen naturally. The homeless we felt guilty about not feeding get fed. The prisoners we felt guilty about not visiting get visited. The "good works" we never felt like we could do, by the grace of God, get done.

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