Written by Laura Zigman and Elizabeth Chandler
Directed by Tony Goldwyn
I have to say that most of Ashley Judd’s work has always surprised me. For whatever reason, I tend to not expect much from her and I’m usually delightfully surprised. In Someone Like You, I think her talent is probably one of the few bright spots in a film that would be fairly forgettable with any other actress’ name on the marquee.
Ashley Judd is Jane Goodale, the talent booker for a talk show based in Manhattan hosted by the overbearing and overzealous Diane Roberts (portrayed by Ellen Barkin). She begins dating the show’s executive producer, Ray (portrayed by Greg Kinnear). When he changes his mind about moving in together and dumps her instead, Jane has a problem with her apartment already having been re-rented. She moves in with another co-worker, Eddie (portrayed by Hugh Jackman) who’s a notorious womanizer.
Jane’s friend Liz (portrayed by Marisa Tomei) hires her to write a column for the magazine she works for about relationships. Jane writes under a pseudonym, posing as a scientist, and attaches a picture of a 65-year-old woman to the column. The column is a hit and soon everyone – including Jane’s boss – is jockeying to get Dr. Maria Charles on their show.
There’s interesting character play here as there are a few different stories and angles being shown all at once. Fairly early in the film, I figured out where the plot was going and who Jane would end up with at the end, although the advice column was a nice twist in the story.
The characters are fairly likable and handled consistently. Jane is at a crossroads and instead of flaking out she’s playing to her strong points. She doesn’t go into Eddie’s apartment thinking that’s an ideal place for her, but the friendship between them slowly grows, even if it’s predictable that they will develop feelings for each other. Judd communicates her feelings at various times with some terrific expressions, saving the character from being an annoying whiner. We’ve all had problems with love and I just cannot stand characters who whine on and on about it. This is why I think Judd’s terrific performance at giving Jane the ability to communicate so much with an expression or the way she carries herself in a scene is the one bright spot.
Hugh Jackman surprised me here. This was my first exposure to him outside of the action/adventure/science-fiction genre. He’s decent in a romantic comedy although for the most part, his character is a one-trick pony as a womanizing scoundrel who’s really got a heart of gold underneath. I’ve seen this character done so many times before and though Jackman’s performance seems fine, the material he is given is really nothing new. I’d like to see him in a romantic comedy with a better-written role after seeing him in Someone Like You.
Kinnear seems to have found a niche in romantic comedies, only this time he’s portraying a weakling to a certain extent. He’s the man who won’t commit and is always thinking there’s something better around the next corner. Girls, we’ve all known guys like that in our lives, even if we managed to avoid dating them. Kinnear isn’t a true villain and we can have pity for him once we see who he’s hooking up with…
Ellen Barkin has one of the roles with the most potential for hilarity as the talk show host not-quite-from-hell. She pulls back enough to avoid becoming a caricature or being too over the top. I didn’t find her to be too funny overall but did get the same sense of dread her employees probably felt when she walked into the room.
The main problem I had with Someone Like You was that it had more the feeling of a sitcom than a feature film. Various scenes in the film are sectioned off with cutesy titles like “Establishing Intimacy” and “A Call To Arms”. This detracted from the story to me, giving it more the feeling as if it were a story someone was writing rather than an honest look at these people’s lives. The section titles also helped make it seem more like episodes of a sitcom rather than a feature film. It just seemed like the film was trying too hard to make me like it and for all the wrong reasons. I want a romantic comedy to give me a reason to believe in love, not make me want to gag over cute, mushy stuff.
Billed as being about the search for love and the battle of the sexes, Someone Like You is definitely a chick-flick. I usually prefer tear-jerkers to romantic comedies, and although I didn’t find viewing this a completely unpleasant experience, it’s not something I feel the need to ever see again. Not horrible but not terrific, Someone Like You will just be a film most who view it will forget about within a week and not realize until they have it in their DVD player once again that they’ve already seen this film.
” Commentary by Director Tony Goldwyn
” Extended Scenes
” Theatrical Trailer & TV Spots
Categories: Movie Reviews