With its hard line on male animal mating habits, "Someone Like You" isn't exactly a great date movie unless you like to argue afterward. Anytime a movie opens with a treatise on the sexual proclivities of bulls at breeding time, you know you're in trouble.
What makes this slight romantic comedy that plays on one string watchable at all is the estimable Ashley Judd, who proved her box-office clout in "Double Jeopardy."
For her fifth starring role, the Kentuckian wanted to work in a comedy. It's a change of pace, all right, but the vehicle she chose is so flimsy, you wonder what the intelligent actress was thinking.
As late-night TV talent booker Jane Goodale, she just wants to work, be loved for herself and realize her dreams. When the TV talk show's new executive producer, Ray (Greg Kinnear), woos her, she soon becomes besotted. Together they lease a Greenwich Village flat with a view.
Then the hot suitor scuttles back to his ex and Jane is suddenly unmoored. She finds solace in studying bovine mating behavior and takes sanctuary in the spare room of co-worker Eddie (Hugh Jackman), who, she observes, "uses women like ATM machines."
Persuaded to share her theories about men's bestial modus operandi by a mag editor friend (Marisa Tomei), she turns sex columnist under a pen name. The crunch comes when the sexy talk show host (Ellen Barkin) wants to interview the celebrated Dr. Ruth-type guru on her show.
Kinnear, who got his start as the wisecracking host on Movietime (now E! Entertainment Television), makes a wan swain, but hunky Jackman has that same high-voltage, Aussie throwaway charm as countryman Mel Gibson. Unlike most actors thrown together on the screen, roomies Judd and Jackman actually strike a few scattered sparks, while Marisa Tomei looks glad to be working but embarrassed to be in the film.
It was kind of a shock to see singer-actress Colleen Camp, who created the role of Sue Ellen's sister on "Dallas," as a New York City Realtor but fun watching Ellen Barkin smolder and Ashley's mom Naomi pop up as a make-up artist.