Someone Like You

The original title of Someone Like You was Animal Husbandry, after the book by Laura Zigman. The original title was quirky and unique, the final title is bland. Someone Like You is similarly bland, a by-the-numbers romantic comedy that treads over familiar ground. The only new element is Ashely Judd, in her second headlining role. Judd (Where the Heart Is, Eye of the Beholder) hams it up just enough to be appealing without being annoying. She certainly has what it takes to be a major star, and this movie will probably be a big boost to an already varied career. Hugh Jackman (X-Men, Paperback Heroes) has his second outing in American theaters, this time not as a mutant with a healing factor. Jackman displays the natural charm and charisma necessary for success with audiences in movies like this.

Oh, and Greg Kinnear (Nurse Betty, The Gift) is in the movie, which means that he plays some sort of cheater. He really needs to branch out his roles in the future. Ray Brown (Kinnear) works with Jane Goodale (Judd) and Eddie Alden (Jackman) on a television talk show. Ray and Jane begin a relationship, although he is seeing somebody else. When they are about to move in together, Ray ends the relationship, leaving Jane without an apartment. She reluctantly moves in with Eddie, a notorious womanizer. Her depression leads her to study the mating habits of animals, which leads her to write a syndicated column under a pseudonym that becomes wildly popular. Her boss (Ellen Barkin, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Crime+Punishment in Surburbia) wants to book the columnist, but of course, no one can find her. As Eddie and Jane live and experience things together, is there any secret as to what happens?

There are also some of the more ridiculous elements that plague many romantic comedies. How is it that a woman like Jane (successful and really hot) not be able to find a man? And what is it with apartments and movies? Eddie and Jane live in a cavernous loft in New York that surely must cost much more than the two combined would make in a long time. The explanation given is lame. Unnecessary narration by Judd and bothersome title cards also get in the way of things. Director Tony Goldwyn (A Walk on the Moon, Imagining Nathan) goes for cute, but ends up lame. The story takes all the prerequisite twists and turns, plotwise and emotionally. Girl meets boy and is happy. Girl loses boy and is sad. Girl almost gets together with boy and is happy then sad. Girl meets other boy and discovers she is really happy.

Jane Goodale, studying animals, Animal Husbandry, get it? It's clever. Someone Like You? No. Every romantic comedy has a gimmick. The adaptation by Elizabeth Chandler (A Little Princess, Afterburn) merely uses the behaviors of male animals as the gimmick. Jane refers to them constantly and then compares them to the actions she observes in men. For somebody who supposedly went to college, she is sure emotionally immature. Except for the acting, none of the main characters are really appealing. They are all shallow, uninteresting people, absorbed in their own lives. Still, Jackman and Judd manage to make their characters tolerable, even charming at times, which helps Someone Like You, but not much.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 47 minutes, Rated PG-13 for sexual content including dialogue, and for some language.

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