To be perfectly honest, I didn't want to go see this movie. It was either this or Tomcats, a wild, raunchy comedy. Someone looked like a chick-flick, so I was voting for Tomcats. My wife, however, let me know that I would be going to the movies alone unless I changed my mind, so chick-flick it was. Much to my surprise, Someone Like You is a lot of fun.
Ashley Judd is Jane, one of the producers of an Oprah-like talk-show who falls for brand new head of production, Greg Kinnear. Also on staff at the show is Hugh Jackman, dedicated playboy, and the third member of our typical love triangle. Ashley falls for Greg, Greg falls for Ashley, Greg leaves Ashley, Ashley falls for Hugh, but can it work? That's basically the story, give or take a few minor details, and if that were all, this movie would have very little to offer. Where this movie works is the in-between. After her initial break-up, Ashley begins to formulate the theory that men are physically incapable of monogamy. She goes so far as to publish her theory in a major men's magazine, under the auspices of an elderly PhD, writing abroad. The whole basis of the theory is that fact that a bull will only mate with a cow once, and then never again. I don't know whether this is true or not, but it's addition in the film spiced up what was set to be a by-the-numbers romantic comedy.
Ashley Judd and Greg Kinnear in 20th Century Fox's Someone Like You - 2001
The acting in this film is nothing to jump up and shout about, but it's not a deficit either. Greg Kinnear is always funny, even when he is playing it straight, and this movie is no different. Ashley Judd is cute and plays her part well, if a little over-dramatic at times. The definite stand-out here is Hugh Jackman, most recently having played Wolverine in X-Men. He's charming, attractive, and a natural actor. You'd never know that he's Australian by listening to his accent. The only distracting thing about him was that I kept seeing Wolverine. I could just see him flying into a rage, slashing Greg Kinnear with his claws. The only really weak character is Marisa Tomei, as Judd's best friend. I think she squealed every line.
One thing I find interesting about these movies are the amazing New York City apartments that these people live in. I've always understood that it's incredibly difficult to find a good place to live in the city, and yet there's always someone who live in a 100,000 square foot loft apartment with 30 foot ceilings and incredible views of the city. They're always sparsely yet chicly decorated, as if they were economy housing or something. Hugh Jackman lives in just such an apartment and really seems to think nothing of it. If that's the norm, I'm moving to New York tomorrow.
One element of the movie that kind of sets it apart from your run-of-the-mill romance is the occasional breaking of the frame, if you will. Every once in a while, a title will appear on screen to, sort of, separate events in her life, or her emotional stages. This may be distracting for some, but I thought it added a level of quirkiness that a movie like this desperately needs. Really the only time this gimmick was out of place was during the film's only sex scene. They kept interspersing the love shots with shots of elementary kids standing in front of a chalk board giving the definitions to words like intimacy and infatuation. I don't know what that was all about.
Someone Like You is cute, inoffensive, and just a little clever. It doesn't fly just a whole lot higher than your typical chick-flick romance, but it also avoids such cliches as the tearful I-Love-You-In-The-Rain scene or the I-Love-You-But-I've-Only-Got-6-Months-To-Live plot twist. It's generally happy, even when it's sad, and it makes for an enjoyable hour and a half, even if you may not remember much about it a month from now. I do have to throw in my typical complaint, however. What is with the stupid title? Someone Like You does not make me want to go see the movie, nor does it have anything to do with the plot. It's yet another example of Hollywood assuming that if you don't shoot for the bland middle, the lowest common denominator, no one will get it, and no one will go see the movie. I think they've got it backward; if my wife hadn't been so against seeing Tomcats, the title alone would have kept me away. Someone Like You sounds like something you've already seen. Luckily, it's just a little bit more. Grade: B-
Someone Like You is rated PG-13 for language and mild sexuality.
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