I admit, I chose this film from my other choices as the lesser of several evils, the deciding factor being an appreciation for Ashley Judd and Greg Kinnear. I am very glad I saw it. Formerly (and better) titled “Animal Husbandry,” Someone Like You probably suffered from test screenings and other paranoid Hollywood practices. What starts out as a nice pseudo-romantic comedy with a great angle on a woman trying to figure out why men do what they do from an anthropological point of view, ends slightly right of the 1950’s. I was satisfied by the ending, just like I am sort of forced to be satisfied by Ariel the Mermaid giving up her identity and family and even biology to be with her prince. It sounds all neo-feminist to say so, but the whole movie spends its time trying to show Ashley Judd that she needs to not approach men like they just rode up on a white horse, and then she just sees someone ride up on a white horse and it “changes” her. Titles roll.
So why see it? Because, despite that kind of icky studio sellout moment (even the stock is different, as if throwing the reshooting of the ending in our faces), the rest of the movie is delightful! It’s smart and funny and sexy and tender and silly and witty and amusing and just plain old entertaining. I went with a male companion, and he liked it a lot too, so I know it’s not just the old man-bashing chick movie angle or the squishy dance of intimacy appeal. I know I myself went through a similar (if not as obsessive) post-breakup bender trying to comprehend the male species, and I was relieved to have it played out for me. Women love to be validated by other women’s experiences, and ladies, this will validate you like you wouldn’t believe!
I mentioned earlier that the original title was Animal Husbandry, which is the title of the novel on which it was based. I am going to run out and buy that book, because all the characters thankfully transcend the little romantic comedy pigeonholes that Hollywood has made, the amusing zoological tidbits Judd’s character uncovers are very amusing (the notion of “new cow” is both painfully true and deliciously funny), and I really enjoyed the interesting dynamic between Judd and Kinnear and Hugh Jackman. Ellen Barkin seems vaguely miscast in this film as their boss (did I mention all these people work together? How delightful!) but nothing is harmed by it.
Looking at director Tony Goldwyn’s movies, I see that he has acted in a long list of movies that should have been much better, but I suspect got ruined in testing. He must be aware that it does not have to be a formula to work, but I suspect as a 3rd-time director, he was under the thumb of someone more paranoid than himself. Still, it is enjoyable and sweet and funny and even touching, all that crap your dates will like, gents, and all that stuff you want your guys to see, ladies. So go see it.
MPAA Rating PG-13
Release date 3/30/01
Time in minutes 100
Director Tony Goldwyn
Studio 20th Century Fox