The message of “Someone Like You” is that all men are pigs, except for the few who aren’t.
That’s the overt message. The more subtle message is that this is a “date movie.” It doesn’t have too much sex or profanity or violence, so it’s tame enough for mixed company. And it’s all about romance, which is allegedly enjoyed by women (“enjoyable to women” being the current definition of “date movie”).
This particular date movie is about a Manhattan gal named Jane (Ashley Judd) who works for a tabloid talk show and is, you guessed it, unlucky at love. She takes up with new coworker Ray (Greg Kinnear) and is about to move in with him when he suddenly dumps her.
Then she hits on a theory, which she calls the New Cow Theory, and which she has been explaining to us in voice-over narration the whole time. The idea is that once a bull has done the deed with a cow, he doesn’t want that cow anymore. Even if he’s not gettin’ it from someone else, he’d rather have no nookie at all than nookie from an “old cow.”
Men, Jane decides, are like bulls. They get bored easily, and they want to find new cows.
Marvelous! The women are really enjoying the movie now, and the men they’re with are still concentrating on how to get some action afterward.
Jane tries to make Ray jealous by moving in, platonically, with another coworker. This one is Eddie (Hugh Jackman), a notorious womanizer and sleazeball. But wouldn’t you know it? He has a sensitive side, evidenced by his bringing Jane some booze to ease the pain when she’s crying over her lost Ray.
Ray also once had a serious live-in girlfriend, whom he encounters and gets all awkward with in one very brief scene. The movie does several shorthand tricks like that, hoping to convince us of things with as little effort as possible, leaving more time to deal with Jane’s saucy friend Liz (Marisa Tomei), who works at a women’s magazine and has Jane start writing pseudonymous columns about this New Cow Theory.
The four main stars perform as these particular ones always do: fairly good, fairly charming, fairly enjoyable. Nothing more, nothing less. Jackman occasionally has an Australian accent, but I guess that’s the dialogue coach’s fault, not his.
The movie’s main problem is that for a long time, it’s unclear which couple we’re supposed to be rooting for: Judd and Kinnear, or Judd and Jackman. So much time was spent developing Judd and Kinnear that when he dumps her, for a while we think we really do want them to get back together. But then Jackman comes on the scene, and it’s obvious the movie, if it was made anywhere near Hollywood, is going to have the compassionate, platonic friend come to the rescue, as always.
There’s also the issue of not being very funny, and the whole anonymous-columnist thing getting quite ridiculous. But those are beside the point. It’s a date movie; what do you want?
C (; )