US title: Someone Like You|
dir Tony Goldwyn
scr Elizabeth Chandler
with Ashley Judd, Greg Kinnear, Hugh Jackman, Marisa Tomei, Ellen Barkin, Laura Regan, Catherine Dent, Peter Friedman, Colleen Camp, Matthew Coyle, Murielle Arden, Jess Platt
release US 30.Mar.01; UK 20.Jul.01
Fox 01/US 1h37
Released under the awful, nondescript title Someone Like You in America, here in the UK it gets a name closer to the source novel, Animal Husbandry. And yes, animals feature into the fabric of this fairly predictable but rather charming rom-com. Jane (Judd) has what she calls a "New Cow Theory" that claims a man, like a bull, will always pass over a cow he's already had for a new one. In other words: Men are scum. She gets her best friend (Tomei) to publish her theory in a magazine under a pseudonym, spurring a nationwide debate (as if this is a new subject!). But it comes back to haunt her at her job as a TV producer working alongside her ex (Kinnear) and a wanton womaniser with a heart of gold (Jackman). Three guesses....|
Gentle and cute, chatty and smart, the film at least holds our interest, mostly due to the sheer charm of its cast. Judd and Jackman are particularly good at creating real people we can identify with--their characters are natural and honest and often very funny. Barkin is also good fun in her role as Jane's boss, a feisty chat show host. Kinnear and Tomei fare less well in the standard roles they've built careers on: the nice-guy jerk and the sassy best pal. The problems start when things begin to sag in the final third; the story takes its time, wandering down a few distracting sideroads before reaching the requisite catharsis and a very obvious conclusion. Syrupy and silly ... and nothing new. After all the smart stuff in the first half, the film is ultimately corny and unconvincing. Judd and Jackman make it watchable anyway. But only just.