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Someone Like You  

Cast: Ashley Judd...............Jane Goodale
Greg Kinnear..............Ray Brown
Hugh Jackman..............Eddie Alden
Ellen Barkin..............Diane
LeAnna Croom..............Rebecca
Marisa Tomei..............Liz

Directed by: Tony Goldwyn Written by: Elizabeth Chandler Based on the novel by Laura Zigman

Someone Like You
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One cannot be both jaded and sweet at the same time. While a seemingly obvious notion, the new romantic comedy "Someone Like You" appears unable to grasp it. The movie wants so desperately to be cute and good-natured, which wouldn't have been a problem if the source material weren't so cynical.

The film isn't aided by its own satiable self-indulgence in oversimplifying its message ... that virtually no member of the male gender is faithful or decent. The main character spends so much time whining and crying and griping and complaining and moaning yet the movie never aspires to be anything more than the pretentious sum of its jaded parts. The film would rather vent its frustration than take the time to actually be about something.

The engaging Ashley Judd plays Jane Goodale, a successful television producer for a highly-rated talk show. Jane approaches romantic relationships in a stupifyingly juvenile manner, placing those she falls for atop the most ostentatious of pedestals then unleashing numbingly whiny diatribes when they don't measure up. She falls for Ray Brown (Greg Kinnear), the show's new executive producer. They made plans to move in together, but Ray soon dumps her without reason, leaving her heartbroken and without a home. With nowhere else to go, she decides to take refuge in the apartment of Eddie Alden (Hugh Jackman), her womanizing co-producer.

Desperate to find the reason behind being dumped, Jane begins to study the mating rituals of cows. (Ah, of course.) Her dimwitted analogy soon catches the attention of her best friend Liz (Marisa Tomei), an editor for a local magazine. Liz convinces Jane to write a column on the subject, albeit under an assumed name. Soon the column inexplicably gains nationwide attention.

I've heard many complaints from colleagues who angrily accuse the movie of blatant male-bashing. What my friends need to realize is that the idea of male-bashing is insulting to both men and women, operating under the assumption that the key to a woman's happiness is dependent solely on the love of a man. To accuse the film of male-bashing would be giving it double the credit it deserves ... it treats both sexes equally poorly.

One is tempted to blame director Tony Goldwyn for this mess, although I don't think it's completely his fault; his biggest mistake was not waiting for a better script to come along. Elizabeth Chandler's screenplay is based upon the novel "Animal Husbandry" by Laura Zigman. I have not read it, nor do I possess the desire. There is absolutely no substance nor wit to the movie, just the pretentious gripings of someone at a sad point in their life.

Only the presence of the very likable Ashley Judd and Hugh Jackman make the movie watchable, despite having to listen to Judd's voiced narration explaining her theory as we witness farm animals mating. Oh, how I would have loved to have seen Babe the talking pig stick its face into the frame and say, "Get a life, will ya?"

Copyright 2001 Michael Brendan McLarney Critically Ill

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