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A Pretty, but Average, RomCom
on 8 May 2007
Jane (Ashley Judd) is an intelligent, attractive woman satisfied in her job on a daytime chat show, working alongside the apparently insensitive, womanising bachelor Eddie (Hugh Jackman). When Ray (Greg Kinnear) is joins the crew Jane feels an obvious attraction but soon learns he is in already in a relationship going on four years. They embark on a discreet affair when Ray reveals he is unsure of his current relationship and make preparations to live together after Ray drops his old girlfriend. Pretty soon though, Ray breaks it off with Jane, leaving her homeless and broken-hearted, so through necessity Jane moves in with Eddie. Whilst trying to understand Ray's desertion and Eddie's behaviour, Jane reads a report on an experiment in cattle breeding that seems to suggest a bull will not mate with the same cow twice. From this evidence, Jane formulates a similar old cow/new cow theory about male attitudes to women, creating a series of complications that escalate until the final denouement.
The cast are all quite competent and attractive, with Ashley Judd looking somewhat like a milder-mannered Angelina Jolie. I thought Ellen Barkin's role was very subtle, but you can see in the DVD extras a great scene of physical comedy that was cut from the film. The general pace is good and the comedy is comfortable/inoffensive.
However, I had a couple of big problems with the film - firstly, the audience is expected to feel sympathy for Jane when she is dumped, yet she began the relationship as the 'other woman' (something about which she appears to feel no guilt).
There are only two male characters in the film - Ray and Eddie - and, given their roles, this gives the impression that Jane will fall in love with any man that shows her attention, so the inherent romance is diminished by this. With Jane as an example, whilst bulls prefer a new cow each time, the film seems to imply that cows will happily accept any bull that stumbles their way.
An additional note - Hugh Jackman does a good job with a limited role and spends a significant portion of the film in his underwear.