Rating: PG-13 for language, adult situations
Run Time: 1 hour, 33 minutes
Did you know that men have a biological need to spread their seed? Or that quadripeds and bipeds share a copulatory impulse? Just a couple of the uniquely entertaining mating theories laid forth in this airy, romantic comedy that attempts to scrutinize and analyze the age-old foxtrot known as love.
Two words for the uninitiated: Hugh Jackman. Stripped of wolf’s clothing (“X-Men”), he’s one-hundred percent hunk, and largely responsible for the easygoing success of this lighthearted confection. Jackman is Eddie, a pathological womanizer and co-worker of Jane Goodale (Ashley Judd), a single, attractive daytime talk show producer whose theories on love and lust have a distinctly mammalian bent. Bells chime when Jane lays eyes on the show’s dashing new executive producer Ray (Greg Kinnear), a sexy, sensitive male for the millennium. Jane and Ray make hay, and even begin to play house together. But just as Jane’s wild kingdom notions begin to gather dust, Ray shows his true spots and dumps her.
Instead of crying over spilt milk, Jane gets a handle on her rage and takes her man vs. animal advice public, anonymously expounding on her hypotheses in a popular, high-exposure men’s magazine. You go, girl! Homeless because of Ray complications, Jane reluctantly accepts Eddie’s roommate invitation as an interim housing measure when the emotional going gets rough.
Let the fun begin. Vulnerable, practical Jane rooming with contemporary Casanova Eddie is ripe with comic potential. As is Jane’s newfound but covert celebrity. Gal pal Marisa Tomei lends comic layering with such witty bon mots as “Time wounds all heels”, but humor is not at the core of this cautionary fairy tale. The quickening pulse is the very real performance of Ashley Judd, an insightful Everywoman for whom love is just a heartbeat away. Her wide-eyed intelligence and sassy delivery, not to mention killer wardrobe and pixie-like adorability, are a winning combination. Kinnear is, natch, Mr. Smooth turned sour, but Jackman virtually burns up the screen with his devil-may-care attitude and glistening biceps. I mean subtle compassion. Climax is decidedly disappointing, a cinematic period in place of a sparkling explanation point.