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Film review: Someone Like You

Try as you might, you probably couldn't find a more bland, nondescript title for a romantic comedy than "Someone Like You."

Admittedly, that moniker is a slight improvement on the film's original working title (like the novel it's based on, the film had been called "Animal Husbandry," which sounds more like a vehicle for no-taste comedian Tom Green). And in all honesty, the newer title seems to fit what's easily one of the most forgettable movies in recent memory.

Despite a good cast and a seemingly can't-miss premise, the film is a haphazard mess filled with sketchy, one-note characterizations, ridiculously contrived predicaments and several missed comic opportunities.

The filmmakers obviously are content to let the film try to get by on the considerable charms of its star, Ashley Judd. And while Judd can sometimes improve material all by herself (witness how she almost salvaged "Where the Heart Is" and what she accomplished with the even more vapid "Double Jeopardy"), even she can't make this one any better than mediocre.

Judd stars as Jane Goodale, a talent coordinator for a popular New York talk show. She seems to have everything going for her, except that she's still single — something she's constantly bemoaning to her best friend, Liz (Marisa Tomei).

But as quickly as you can say "instant chemistry," Jane finally meets someone who just might be her perfect match, Ray Brown (Greg Kinnear), the show's new executive producer.

Though Ray claims to have a longtime girlfriend, the two find themselves spending more and more time together, and eventually, they become lovers. But when the big day comes for the two to finally move in together, Ray gets cold feet, which leaves Jane devastated — and in something of a bind. Already having vacated her apartment, she's forced to move in with her womanizing co-worker, Eddie (Hugh Jackman, from "X-Men"), who, to her surprise, lends a sympathetic ear.

Jane also uses the opportunity to study the seemingly unrepentant lothario and write a scholarly dissertation on the male animal (under an assumed name, of course) — though there might be a complication or two.

Even the most naive moviegoers will know where this is going from minute one. But as crippling as the sheer predictability of the material is, the real problem is the poorly assembled story line, which takes its time going from Point A to Point B, and then suddenly jumps to Point Z without the proper build-up.

Consequently, director Tony Goldwyn ("A Walk on the Moon") can't really do anything, except play the scenes as broadly as possible.

He's also hindered by the chemistry-free pairing of Judd and Kinnear, which makes the early scenes seem unbelievable. (If only there were more between Judd and Jackman, who at least seem like more of a romantic possibility.)

"Someone Like You" is rated PG-13 for crude sexual humor, as well as sexual references, scattered profanity (including one utterance of the so-called "R-rated" curse word), simulated sex and brief partial female nudity. Running time: 93 minutes.


E-MAIL: jeff@desnews.com