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'Someone Like You': Bum Steer

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 30, 2001


    'Someone Like You' Ashley Judd and Hugh Jackman star in "Someone Like You." (Twentieth Century Fox)
Ever mainline molasses? No? Well, here's your chance: "Someone Like You," a gooey romantic comedy that sticks to everything except its principles. It's like a wad of bubble gum, or worse, on the sole of your shoe. What's even more exasperating, you know exactly where it's going before the protagonists do.

Ashley Judd, "Double Jeopardy's" butt-kicker extraordinaire, is as chipper as Jiminy Cricket in the role of Jane Goodale, a talent broker for a popular New York talk show hosted by the bitchy Diane Roberts (shrill, orange-skinned Ellen Barkin).

Jane specializes in finding new meat for the voracious telecaster, but she's distracted from her duties by Ray Brown (Greg Kinnear), the show's duplicitous new producer.

He specializes in looking like a whipped puppy, which Jane finds irresistible. In no time at all (though it feels like a couple of months), the two are planning to move in together. Then Ray gets a case of the can't-commits and jilts Jane, and she is devastated.

How could this have happened to her?

To survive the heartbreak, she must come up with an explanation for such unthinkable male behavior. Many women in her situation would say that he was a pig.

But that's bull, according to Jane, who comes up with "the Old Cow theory," based on a newspaper article about bovine mating habits.

Bulls, it seems, invented the one-night stand. They'll eagerly couple with a cow, but only once. Bring Bossie back for another helping and he won't serve her. He's already dreaming of greener pastures. And men, Jane hypothesizes, are just bulls with zippers.

Eddie Alden ("X-Men's" hunky Hugh Jackman), her womanizing co-worker, is a case in point. She has to move in with the gorgeous rake because she gave up her own apartment to move in with Ray. That's right, friends, she has nowhere else to go even though her sister lives in the city in a big old house – we guess they must've torn down the YWCA. Anyhow, every night Eddie comes home to his barn of a loft with a new cow – and more fodder for Jane's evolving theory.

Jane shares her ideas with a friend (Marisa Tomei), an editor at a men's magazine who persuades her to write a sex column under a nom de plume. Hard to believe, but she becomes an overnight sensation, a postfeminist icon. Some might call her a mean old cow, but she eventually renounces her theory and says men aren't beasts after all. Oh.

But the story doesn't stop there. Obviously, Eddie and Jane were meant for each other. But will they ever realize it? The suspense, like the movie, is unbearable unless you've been alive for more than 24 hours. It'll be especially familiar if you've seen other romances produced by Lynda Obst ("One Fine Day," "Hope Floats" and "Sleepless in Seattle"). And now this one, which might alternatively be titled "Narcolepsy in New York."

"Someone Like You" (93 minutes) is rated PG-13 for sexual content and racy language. Contains cutesy cliches, crummy lighting, insipid soundtrack and lame direction.


Copyright 2001 The Washington Post Company

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