Some actresses radiate intelligence. Jodie Foster does. Anne Heche does (used to, anyway). Ashley Judd does. In the right role (Foster in Silence of the Lambs), this only adds to our enjoyment of the movie. In the wrong role (Heche in Six Days, Seven Nights), it subtracts. And in the not-quite-right role, it both adds and subtracts, nullifying the performance. I enjoyed Judd in Someone Like You, where she plays a woman who can't understand why men never stick around very long, then thinks she does understand. But ' to her credit, I guess ' Judd seems too smart for this movie, certainly too smart for the script, which has her inventing a "new" theory that just happens to have been around since at least the Stone Age. Men are animals, instinctively roaming from one mate to another. In Someone Like You
Based on Laura Zigman's novel Animal Husbandry (which is a far better title), Someone Like You presents our TV-show talent booker with two male specimens: Greg Kinnear's Ray, who seems like Mr. Right right up to the moment he dumps her, and Hugh Jackman's Eddie, who seems like Mr. Wrong right up to the moment he...well, I don't want to give the whole thing away. Let's just say that, between the two, Judd's Jane is ready to give up on men. Except she can't give up on men. They're the only animals in town. The difference between Ray and Eddie, by the way, is that Eddie wears his testosterone on his sleeve ' he's a womanizer ' whereas Ray tries to disguise his with sensitive-guy posturing. Of course, both of them are immensely appealing when you get right down to it, which is why we call Someone Like You a romantic comedy.
Jackman may be too appealing. Considerably less hairy than when he played Wolverine in X-Men, he's outrageously handsome, and that throws the movie off balance, makes us wonder what he sees in Judd. Not that she isn't appealing. She's cute as a button. The thing is, she's hard as a button, too. There's this inner strength that keeps her from diving headfirst into the role. So far, Judd has been specializing in woman-in-peril movies where her characters don't register much peril (Double Jeopardy and Kiss the Girls). But romantic comedy requires an element of abandon, of surrendering yourself to the sheer goofiness of love. This must have been easier to do in the old days, when the goofiness was inspired, when the scripts were as intelligent as the actors. Someone Like You is the same old tune, only without the grace notes.