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'Someone': Somewhat Unoriginal

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 30, 2001


    'Someone Like You' Ashley Judd and Hugh Jackman star in "Someone Like You." (Twentieth Century Fox)
Mere minutes into "Someone Like You," it's obvious how things are going to turn out. In terms of who ends up with whom, I mean.

If an earnest, likable woman (Ashley Judd) has started going out with a shifty-eyed work associate played by an actor who has played a slippery customer in other movies (Greg Kinnear), and if she spends much of her time talking about this affair, and the relationships between men and women, with her good-looking, gym-buffed, always-ready-to-talk-about-sensitive-issues roommate (Hugh Jackman), where do you think this story's going to go?

Jane Goodale (Judd) works as a talent booker for a popular TV talk show. The host is the prima-donna-ish Diane Roberts (Ellen Barkin), a transparent, satirical version of Diane Sawyer, who's always looking for the exclusive story. When the show's new executive producer, Ray Brown (Kinnear), becomes interested in Jane, she is bowled over.

Their hush-hush romance catches fire, they find a great place in the city, then Ray gets cold feet. Jane, who has already given away her precious apartment, suddenly needs a place. She rooms with co-worker Eddie (Jackman) and the movie shifts into conventional cruise control.

Oh, this romance, directed by Tony Goldwyn, pretends that Jane and her roomie, Eddie (Jackman) are diametrically opposed, because she believes in love and he believes in one-night stands.

But if they weren't destined for each other, Eddie would be a nerd sporting coke-bottle specs, or gay, or monstrously overweight – some obviously ineligible candidate.

"Someone Like You" goes off on an oh-so-precious tangent when Jane adopts a pseudonym and writes a provocative article that compares male mating behavior unfavorably to that of bulls.

When the article makes waves, Diane demands to book the mysterious author, putting Jane in a quandary. Meanwhile, the friendship between Jane and Eddie is getting hotter and hotter. Heaven forbid a Hollywood romantic movie have any narrative surprises.

Which leaves us with these globally significant questions: Is the movie cute? Is Judd adorable? Is Jackman hunky? Is the story watchable, or amusing, or fun?

That's an easy call: If your standards are so elastic that there's almost nothing that could turn you off, the answer is probably yes. But if you are allergic to predictability and second-rate cuteness, or watching Marisa Tomei playing second fiddle as Judd's one-dimensional, quippy friend, I'd advise you to catch up with me: I'm the guy frantically running away from this forgettable affair.

"Someone Like You" (PG-13, 94 minutes) – Contains sexual situations, some profanity.


Copyright 2001 The Washington Post Company

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