"Someone Like You" is the cinematic adaptation of Laura Zigman's best-selling novel "Animal Husbandry". Though I've never read the novel, I have a sneaking suspicion that like the about-face with the film's title, in which the intriguing title of the book was jettisoned in favor of a blander and ostensibly 'more marketable' one, the film itself has been drained of all its verve and witty commentary to suit the trappings of your stereotypical romantic comedy.
"Someone Like You" follows the travails of Jane Goodale (Ashley Judd of "Double Jeopardy"), the talent booker for a New York-based talk show hosted by Diane Roberts (Ellen Barkin of "Drop Dead Gorgeous"). Jane falls head over heels in love with the show's new producer, Ray Brown (Greg Kinnear of "The Gift"), and pretty soon they are talking about moving in together. Unfortunately, Ray has an inexplicably abrupt change of mind, leaving Jane heartbroken and homeless. With little choice, she rents a spare room from her womanizing coworker Eddie Alden (Hugh Jackman of "X-Men"), which she finds to be an eye-opening experience. With the help of her editor friend Liz (Marisa Tomei, seen recently in "What Women Want") and the identity of a recently-deceased Ph.D, Jane fashions a controversial magazine article extolling her 'old cow, new cow' theory of male-female relationships, which essentially provides a scientific explanation for the love'em & leave'em phenomenon. Not surprisingly, the article creates a buzz across the nation, and Diane tasks Jane and Eddie with booking the article's author for an appearance on the show.
"Someone Like You" starts off interestingly enough, as Judd's voiceover explains the basis for her theory, and a number of title placards identify the steps of her infatuation and eventual disillusionment with Ray. Unfortunately, other than comparing the state of gender politics to the mating habits of farm animals, there's not a lot that's interesting going on in the film. Judd plays the beleaguered heroine who must navigate the treacherous waters of male-female relationships, and her character's struggle is no different than the typical by-the-numbers melodrama of your average romantic-comedy. Thankfully, the rote script is tempered by some genuinely funny moments, which illustrate the actress' aptitude for comic timing. Kinnear once again shows up in another tired turn as the resident 'scumbag', as he did in last year's "Loser", "Nurse Betty", and "The Gift", which is probably something he can do in his sleep by now. Jackman, who wowed audiences as Wolverine in last summer's "X-Men", shows off his range with a funny and somewhat moving performance as Jane's potential 'true love'.
Occasionally, I get asked if I enjoy 'chickflicks'. And the answer is 'yes', provided they are done properly. Unfortunately, like every other genre out there, 90% of 'chickflicks' are garbage, leaving few true gems, such as "Tumbleweeds", "Where the Heart Is", "Bounce", and "Ever After". Unfortunately, "Someone Like You" falls into the 'garbage' category, despite the luminous presence of Ashley Judd and her pairing with Hugh Jackman. Very little that happens in the film will come as a surprise, and with its verbose and unenlightened pontification, "Someone Like You" winds up being a chore (not to mention a bore) to sit through.