Animal Attraction

Animal Attraction (12)

ONE OF the classiest, funniest romantic comedies of recent years, Animal Attraction offers Ashley Judd her best role yet as Jane Goodale, a lovelorn twentysomething TV talk show talent spotter in the Big Apple.

The object of her affection is charming colleague Ray Brown (Greg Kinnear), a dapper chap from out of town. Jane goes hell for leather into a love affair with Ray while dismissing tall, dark and handsome office lothario Eddie Alden (Aussie heartthrob Hugh Jackman, from X-Men) as a sleeparound male slut.

Blinded by a rose-tinted concept of love and monogamy, Jane gives up her apartment and flings herself headlong into the relationship. Everything looks rosy; what she doesn’t expect is to be dumped.

Lost, hurt and confused, she takes the spare room in Eddie’s apartment and slowly formulates her own theory about men. Like animals – specifically bulls – men never mate with the same woman twice. They are on an endless merry-go-round of sex and shallow love, always searching for a panacea without ever wishing to meet Miss Right.

Galvanised into action, she writes a man-bashing article for a pal’s magazine under a nom-de-plume. The resultant piece, based on her theory of bovine polygamy, is a sensation, with everyone from Oprah Winfrey to her own TV show’s star desperate to find the mysterious writer…

Based on the novel Animal Husbandry by Laura Zigman, Animal Attraction is smart, sassy and sexy, boasting finer performances, a great look and an extremely bright script courtesy of Zigman and Elizabeth Chandler.

Jackman, an Australian who can play American better than most Yanks, revels in the eyebrow-lifting, black-clad studio stud whose bathroom cabinet is filled to overflowing with condoms to assuage his hurt over a broken love affair.

This is the kind of guy who quits smoking when his current squeeze tells him she wants to marry a smoker. He’s a lean, mean, loving machine – the kind of snake-eyed loveboat women loathe but secretly wish to sweep them off their feet.

Judd, so often seen in action-orientated pot-boilers, here takes a part she can really sink her teeth into. Women will love Jane Goodale. She drifts from sexy to coy to independent female with ease. She bounds into a love affair, goes through the mangle and comes out the other side bruised, a little more cynical but a whole lot more healthy.

Kinnear and Marisa Tomei, as Jane’s best pal, have the weakest roles, but director Tony Goldwyn keeps everything bubbling along nicely. It doesn’t matter that the film is 15 minutes too long. It doesn’t matter that the ending is weak. It doesn’t matter that we know who will end up with whom.

Instead, this cinematic tale of discord, mistrust and betrayal – a version of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus – will delight anyone who has ever been through the car accident known as love and lived to tell the tale.

A cracking romance with a star-making performance from Jackman.

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