Someone Like You
The producer of a popular daytime talk show undertakes an extensive study of the male animal in an attempt to understand why her romance with the show's dashing executive suddenly went awry.
While working behind the scenes on "The Diane Roberts Show," talent booker Jane Goodale (Ashley Judd) falls for executive producer Ray Brown (Greg Kinnear). Of course, he falls in love with her too. Then, suddenly, he falls out of love with her. Dumped, sad, and homeless, Jane spends much of the rest of the movie either crying her eyes out (Judd does cry very prettily) to best friend Liz (Marisa Tomei) and co-worker-turned-new-roommate Eddie Alden (Hugh Jackman), or ranting uncontrollably against the failings of the male animal. In the midst of all this stumbling around with love and relationships, she develops a theory of male sexuality that hinges on the mating habits of bovines. Despite the cow thing - which adds a unique twist -- Someone Like You follows the formula for romantic comedy to the letter, with requisite tear-jerking speeches, some sweet moments of romance and a few surprises.
We're introduced to Jane through a Judd voice-over that explains her "New Cow Theory" of male sexuality. Because of this disembodied introduction, Judd initially seems a bit stilted, and while it takes some time to warm up to her, you finally do. This is her movie without a doubt, but her unfortunate tendency to turn true comedy into melodrama swiftly grows cloying. Still, there are occasional moments of clarity in her performance. Ellen Barkin, on the other hand, brings a subtle sense of humor to her role as the scattered and ambitious talk show host, Diane Roberts. Kinnear's performance as love interest number one is vaguely reminiscent of his Nurse Betty soap star, only this time he's a bit more sympathetic -- he starts out as such a nice guy, it's hard to believe he can dump our heroine so unceremoniously. Jackman (love interest number two), on the other hand, starts off as a gigolo extraordinaire (condoms galore in his medicine cabinet) but ends up being a pretty likeable guy.
Director Tony Goldwyn, fresh off another foray into romantic territory with Bounce, would perhaps have done better on a different path. Someone Like You clearly tries to go beyond the typical romantic comedy but its failure to do so is all the more painful to watch. For example: a series of ill-timed and ill-conceived cuts back to a barnyard, where bull breeders are trying to get their studs to mate with the same cow twice (understand-this apparently, is not what cows do). These moments disrupt whatever momentum the movie has going. And as for the setting, New York City -- one of the most exciting cities in the country -- comes off as dull and boring and full of lots of dead meat (an image resurrected at key points throughout the film).
Suckers for sweet, formulaic, romantic comedies will probably enjoy Someone Like You. Anyone looking for a funny movie should look elsewhere.