He's Just That Into Drew (Barrymore)

Drew Barrymore, Our Lady of the Contagious Smile

That dimple convention known as Drew Barrymore celebrates the release of a new movie, "He's Just Not That Into You" (which she executive-produced) on February 6 and her birthday (34) on February 22. Though the film is diverting, but not great, Barrymore has a nose for the offbeat rom-com. Her company, Flower Films, produced three originals of the genre, "Music and Lyrics," "Fever Pitch" and "50 First Dates," movies that, on the basis of reader response, men like as much as women do. "I try to make movies that I would want to go see," says the performer/producer who, incredibly, has been in the business as long as Denzel Washington, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.

Here's an early valentine and birthday greeting: Barrymore is one of the few actors who guarantee movie pleasure, likewise one of the few with intergenerational appeal. "She promises good company," notes the always astute David Thomson, who observes that she is the child or girlfriend we'd all like to have. He is just that into Drew. I don't doubt that in a century she will be regarded in the way movielovers today regard those souls of screwball comedy, Irene Dunne and Carole Lombard. I don't doubt that she will be regarded as the spirit of American womanhood, the one we met as a girl in "E.T.," the nine-year-old old who sued her parents for divorce in "Irreconcilable Differences," the jailbait lollipop of "Poison Ivy," the resourceful Cinderella of "Ever After," the beaming love object of "The Wedding Singer," the patient career woman of "Fever Pitch," and the nascent songwriter in "Music and Lyrics." Oh, and yeah, one of the babes in the preposterous "Charlie's Angels," which she also produced.

The most unpretentious of actresses, Barrymore says stuff like, "If I ever start talking about 'my craft, 'my instrument, you have permission to shoot me." Some critics, Thomson among them, don't think she has much range, that her eternal sunshine is too bright for drama. But I can't see anyone else so lightly and gracefully playing the pathos of her character in "50 First Dates," the woman without sa hort-term memory. And what a voice she has,  teasing and ticklish, a voice that created a character out of a Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

Are you into Drew? Favorite movie? Why?