Retro Review: Someone Like You

Written: March 30, 2001

“Someone Like You” follows around Jane Goodale (Ashley Judd), a young talent booker who works for a sassy weekday talk show called “Diane Roberts: Live”.

Jane falls deeply for the show’s new executive producer Ray (Greg Kinnear).

Their love grows and they start plans to move in together. Inexplicably Ray leaves Jane and in the process leaves her without residence.

Jane is heart-broken, homeless and devastated. She resorts to finding a scientific explanation for why she was dumped as she has to take up residence with a womanizing co-worker named Eddie (Hugh Jackman).

What will happen to Jane who has to work with the object of her frustration? What can Jane learn from Eddie about the world of love? And are there any real animal feelings going on as we seek out our special someone?

As the film flickered across the screen, I began to realize that I was a definite minority in a room full of rumbling estrogen. The jokes would come on the screen and I watched as all the male audience members would cringe and sink in their seats as the character of Jane would scream about how much she hates men. I really felt that the film focused too much on “man-hating” and that was enough to alienate the opposite sex from even trying to get into the piece.

In last year’s “What Women Want”, there was a strong female message but men could still not feel threatened by watching the piece. In this film, the male audience is supposed to take refuge in the Eddie character but he isn’t given enough screen-time for men to really latch on.

The film goes on and on about the idea that men love to sleep with a lot of women and that only 5% of men are monogamous. I am a member of that 5% and I really do want to know where they dream up that percentage.

For every womanizer who burns a woman, there are 4 or 5 nice guys that woman always over look. Plus I really do wonder if maybe they refer to that percentage as only exists in Hollywood’s make-believe New York.

Coming back to the film, I have always enjoyed watching Ashley Judd grow as an actress but here I do wonder if maybe she has stepped back instead of forward.

Her Jane character has a lot of sob moments but nothing really worthy of her talent. Her comedic timing is great as she reacts to the funnier moments especially during the cheerleading scene but nothing really challenges her ability.

Greg Kinnear is very cardboard as the first male lead and really has nothing to work with. He hasn’t been this badly used since “Dear God”. His character is just so boring and flat. I am really surprised they didn’t inject anything into this guy.

Hugh Jackman, as the second male lead, shows that even in a bad movie he still is showing North American audiences that he is here to stay. I believe the casting here was supposed to reflect Jackman’s appeal as a Mel Gibson clone but I disagree. He may have similar background to Mel but he has a lot more to bring then just being addressed as a Mel clone. Jackman has a lot of charisma and presence that I remember from the early Road Warrior Mel. I do realize as a male audience member I was supposed to latch onto Jackman as an anchor but his great performance is heavily underused and it’s a shame. I am really anticipating his next film, “Swordfish” where he will star with John Travolta. I wonder if the film will allow him to out act Travolta because I bet you he could.

Aside from alienation, “Someone Like You” has some moments that really help define the male-female relationship and it is hilarious what Judd actually comes up with to address the stereo-typical Hollywood romance gone awry.

(2 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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