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SOMEONE LIKE YOU

SYNOPSIS:
When TV talent agent Jane Goodale (Ashley Judd) meets her new executive Producer Ray Brown (Greg Kinnear), sparks fly and love is in the air. When the relationship falls apart, Jane takes the spare bedroom in the flat of her womanising co-worker Eddie Alden (Hugh Jackman). She begins to research Male behaviour, developing a cynical hypothesis that compares the mating habits of men to bulls. Eddie is a perfect prototype and fascinating to observe. Her friend Liz (Marisa Tomei), an editor at a men's magazine, persuades Jane to write a sex column under a pseudonym, which much to her surprise becomes a huge success. But the human heart is more complex than mere instinct and Eddie displays another side of his personality.

A sassy, romantic comedy about the battle of the sexes, Someone Like You is a delight. Based on the novel Animal Husbandry (the original film title), the concept may not be new, but the performances (especially that of dazzling Ashley Judd), are so enjoyable that it is easy to be charmed and entertained. This is the kind of film that Hepburn and Tracey might have made in the golden years of Hollywood; here in New York yuppie-dom, the Moo-Cow theory is explored. Cows seem to be getting their fair share of attention these days; Gary Larson humanised them in his cartoons and recent films like Me Myself and Irene and Say It Isn't So have embraced them (albeit not always successfully), in their brand of humour. But here, the notion that bulls are attracted to 'new' cows and not 'old' cows is made into an amusing analogy around men's insistent interest in sexual conquest. Presented in a cute and appealing way with a witty script and engaging direction, Judd is the key to the film's appeal. She is sexy, stunning, effervescent and wholesome all at once, adding comedy to her already impressive list of talents. Hugh Jackman and Greg Kinnear work well as the men in her life; Kinnear is a real charmer as the cad, while Jackman shines as the misunderstood womaniser, who is really looking for love. It is a pedigree cast indeed, with Marisa Tomei and sensual Ellen Barkin providing some of the most memorable moments. 'I bit myself shaving' is one of my favourite lines - says Jackman, when Judd points out a hickey on his neck. But there are plenty of snappy lines and the film kicks along effortlessly with its oomphy soundtrack. It's a an emotional ride and perhaps surprisingly, the film's strongest moments are its dramatic ones, which spear the heart. It's all about men's copulative imperative to spread the seed, while gals lust for love and commitment. It's uplifting, funny, romantic and moving - and in the final analysis, vive la différence!
Louise Keller

When Someone Like You began with a theory about personal relationships narrated over scenes of animals, I had the feeling it could be a re-run of the dreadful The Batchelor. I’m pleased to report it certainly isn’t that bad. As things progressed, and the story about the lives and loves of a group of professional people in New York developed, I thought maybe we were in for something like Woody Allen’s Manhattan (there’s even a sequence very similar to one from the earlier film). But unfortunately it didn’t come close to scaling those heights. Someone Like You falls into that middle ground of inoffensive but lacklustre movies. It features a basically sound premise, likeable (even credible) characters, and its heart is in the right place. Where it falls down is in the plot, which doesn’t develop its good ideas into anything more substantial and opts instead for stale contrivances. I can see where the filmmakers wanted to go with the story; but the path they chose for it becomes increasingly tortuous and ends up pretty much where it started. The film’s other problem is that it does a great job showing pain, but seems to have trouble showing joy – a bit sad for a romantic comedy. Ashley Judd is passable as Jane. She has to show a lot of emotion in this film, but her performance is hit-and-miss. She does a good job as the woman in love, but the scenes in which she’s required to be angry simply fall flat. Marissa Tomei as her friend is much better. Greg Kinnear continues his retreat from romantic leading man roles as the confused but manipulative Ray, while Hugh Jackman is testosterone on a stick as Eddie. While there are some good things going for Someone Like You, it never quite manages to rise above the mundane.
David Edwards

I never wanted to say this, but here goes: It's a sign of the times. This year's fluffy romance films like Sweet November, The Wedding Planner, Bounce, and Head Over Heels have failed to register anything remarkable about love, and none of the actors in them have shown an ounce of chemistry for each other. Studios try desperately to keep up with young audiences (their greatest market) by churning out one modern romance after another, but the stories are as thin as the actresses who pout all over the tall-dark-and-handsome uber-men. Well I'm young and I say "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!'' Okay, so Peter Finch said that in Network, but it's true. These recent romances haven't a patch on past Hollywood greats like Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and To Catch a Thief. Can anyone even tell me the last great romance movie? It certainly won't be Someone Like You. If the generic title doesn't tip you off as to its mediocrity, watching the film will. The obscure, poorly explained theory about male-female relationships according to (wait for it) a young career woman is so misguided that we see she's influenced by her own romantic entanglements before she does. Comparing bed-hopping to the mating rituals of cows? What? Cows, bulls, men - whatever - this muddled mess of hapless reasoning goes straight to the dogs. It puts Judd more in the shadow of Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz than ever. Perhaps that's why the filmmakers try to wake up male audiences by having her cheerleading in a pair of skimpy knickers. Don't ask. Hugh Jackman fares marginally better, but one must say he's saturating the market, and can't seem to keep his shirt on. He and Judd kiss by the end, but, like Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt's climactic kiss in As Good As It Gets, one thinks their relationship won't last beyond the end credits. Perhaps Bridget Jones's Diary will offer more. Then again, how much Hugh Grant can we handle? And if you're thinking Pretty Woman was the last great romance movie, well, as I said, it's a sign of the times...
Shannon J. Harvey

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CRITICAL COUNT
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Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 1

See our interview with

HUGH JACKMAN

Author LAURA ZIGMAN speaks to Louise Keller

SOMEONE LIKE YOU (M)
(US)

CAST: Ashley Judd, Greg Kinnear, Hugh Jackman, Marisa Tomei, Ellen Barkin

DIRECTOR: Tony Goldwyn

PRODUCER: Lynda Obst

SCRIPT: Laura Zigman (novel Animal Husbandry), Elizabeth Chandler (screenplay)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Anthony B. Richmond

EDITOR: Dana Congdon

MUSIC: Rolfe Kent

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Dan Leigh

RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 12, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE (Rental): February 13, 2002

VIDEO RELEASE (Sell-thru): August 14, 2002







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