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Someone Like You

review by Zach B.


Rated PG-13

Studio: Fox

Running Time: 97 minutes

Starring Ashley Judd, Greg Kinnear, Hugh Jackman, Marisa Tomei and Ellen Barkin

Screenplay by Elizabeth Chandler
Based upon the novel "Animal Husbandry" by Laura Zigman

Directed by Tony Goldwyn

Retail Price: $26.98

Features: Audio Commentary with Director Tony Goldwyn, Featurette, Alternate Ending, Seven Extended Scenes, Five TV Spots, Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround, English Closed Captions, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scene Selection (22 Scenes)

Released: September 18th, 2001

Jane Goodale (Ashley Judd) is a talk show talent scout who is coming to grips with changes in her professional and personal life. She is head over heels for a co-worker named Ray (Greg Kinnear), but when things between them fizzle and she rooms with another co-worker, Eddie (the always likeable Hugh Jackman). Add in a crazy best friend, relationship bonds of sorts and a subplot involving Jane's sister and Jane having a pesdonym for a column that becomes popular, and start to realize things about herself, and you have a rather standard romantic comedy.

Based on the book "Animal Husbandry" by Laura Zigman, "Someone Like You" is one of the better romantic comedies I've seen lately. While it can be easily predicted and is flawed in the story department, it is somewhat clichéd and brings nothing new to a tired and true genre. The film is simple to understand and the motives of the characters are quite clear, but it does ring some interesting truths. However, upon closer inspection, a lot of stuff is just hidden in disguise and really is stuff we've all seen and come to expect beforeh. Still, I found the film worth sitting through at least once and is enjoyable. It won't entertain you to death and it can drag on sometimes, but a strong cast and a breezy running time does make it worth watching.

I guess the main problem with the movie is the script. You have your struggling hopeless romantic, the jerk who she can't resist but hates and the guy who she doesn't notice and grows to love. Add in a cynical best friend, a subplot dealing with family that tries to go somewhere but really falls flat on its face and a whole secret idenity thing plus standard male comparisons and you have yourself a movie. Wait, that's the whole script. I guess I'm complaining about everything then, since it actually is all typical. I don't know why though, parts of this movie did click with me. I dunno, I was entertained. Other parts that tried to make it preachy and sappy I did not click with, and I felt were pretty much useless.

The cast is very nice though. Ashley Judd makes a fine romantic lead, while Hugh Jackman and Greg Kinnear as love interests are strong actors with good sensibilities to play off Judd. Their quirks do capture the characters. Ellen Barkin is decent, while Marisa Tomei is also pretty good as Jane's friend. They make this movie shine, and there is good casting here to help push it up a little.

Tony Goldwyn, an actor and a director, does a good job here. Good editing and again, this movie is a breeze. It's a bit uneven and not fully fleshed out, but it really could have been worse. Standard, but fun. So it's worth checking out for a Saturday night with a loved one, or if you like romantic comedies. It just needed more development.

Wow! Fox has provided a near-reference quality image for "Someone Like You." It may not seem like a movie to be that way, but like usual, Fox gets so much right it's hard to disagree. Everything is perfect except for the ocassional blemish or scratch. Colors are fully saturated and black levels are rock solid. I didn't notice any major shimmering or any noise either. Detail is also superb, and the three dimensionality of the image is rather stunning. It brings to life the nice exterior and interior locations of New York. One of the best transfers for a live-action film for the year 2001.

The 5.1 Dolby Digital English track is also pretty great and took me by surprise. The sounds of the city and talk show are very active and bring good life to the channels, while the romantic songs also sound very nice. Add in good .1 LFE when used, crisp and clear dialogue that isn't overpowered by other sounds and you have a strong mix with high fidelity and good dynamic range. English subtitles and Spanish subtitles are included on this disc, plus English closed captions and Dolby Surround tracks for English and French languages.

Though it's not labeled a special edition, Fox has given consumers a nice package for the film which quite a few may be interested in. We first have an Audio Commentary with Director Tony Goldwyn. Goldwyn, an actor by trade and who has directed before ("A Walk On The Moon" - great coming of age film in my opinion) opens up here and offers a rather insightful and very enjoyable commentary. He constantly talks, and talks about his directing approach, how he got into directing and how he got this film, developing it, how it differs from the book and a whole lot more. Good production stories, and he praises his cast and crew thoughtfully. No silence and while he isn't screen specific all the time, he is a good deal of the time. He discusses his technique and offers some jokes along the way. Good focus as he is relaxed and well prepared. Worth a listen for sure!

We're also treated to Seven Extended Scenes and an Alternate Ending, each with Optional Audio Commentary with Tony Goldwyn. The scenes are in non-anamorphic widescreen, and actually sometimes jump from color to black and white. Goldwyn offers more commentary here, as he discusses being lost and confusion, and what he wanted. So, they're worth checking out and he has great reasoning here. Nice scenes and insightful optional commentary.

Your standard promotional Featurette is here as well, with clips from the film, behind-the-scenes footage and fluffy interviews (plus standard announcer). It's full frame, promotional and short.

What else? Why, Five TV Spots and the full frame Theatrical Trailer! The menus are pretty great, fitting in with the film's themes and style... a great Fox standard we can always expect.

"Someone Like You" is your above-average romantic comedy, but we really have experienced a lot of the things in the movie in other flicks. This DVD features a strong presentation and some decent supplements, though I wish there would have been background on the book, a battle of the sexes comparison of some kind and other sorts of features to compliment. In either case, it's worth a rental or if you want it, it'll fit nicely in your collection.

(3/5 - NOT included in final score)




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