During its years on the studio shelf, He's Just Not That Into You came to symbolize New Line's burgeoning reputation as the place best romcom intentions go to die. Not so fast, haters!

While most discriminating critics have yet to weigh in on the film, thus avoiding a Bride Wars-esque review wasteland ahead of this Friday's wide release, one trade reporter offers this qualified recommendation — and even backhanded praise! — after last night's premiere:

[It] could easily have become the latest syrupy Hollywood romantic comedy. Instead the Ken Kwapis pic turns into a wide-ranging and noble (if, in the end, a failed) meditation on fidelity, daughterhood and the meaning of (female) happiness (and a slightly relentless vehicle for product placement). [...]

Several female friends we talked to were delighted by all the usual grace notes but slightly taken aback by, as one called it, "slightly dark." Indeed, for all its Sex and the City pretensions (it's based on a book by SATC writers, and New Line moved it to '09 to avoid bumping up against its Carrie-esque stablemate) this is a movie that at times has more in common with European arthouse relationship movies [...] than it does many Jennifer Lopez/Sandra Bullock studio confections.

Even the guys are somewhat multidimensional, the writer adds, indirectly implying that the long HJITIY delay may have just been some executives' ploy for cosmic balance upon learning the degree to which they'd emasculated Matthew McConaughey in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. No problem, New Line, we're even.