'Jane' needs to get a life, then she might find a date

Times Staff Writer

You're a really nice movie, but I just don't think it's going to work out.

In "See Jane Date" (at 8 tonight on ABC Family Channel), Charisma Carpenter ("Angel," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") plays Jane, a 20ish book editor who has less than a month to find a date to her younger cousin's wedding so she won't look like a loser.

On her quest, Jane encounters a rogue's gallery of Very Bad Dates: the shaky guy who's not over his ex; the antsy alcoholic; the guy who's belligerent with the wait staff; the fellow of ambiguous sexual orientation with tickets to "Hairspray"; the seemingly terrific guy who is suddenly "too busy" after Jane sleeps with him.

The whiny, dissatisfied single girl is a tired old scenario. Done cleverly, as in "Bridget Jones's Diary," I can just stomach it. But "See Jane Date" takes the hackneyed topic and leaves it smack in the middle of Clicheville. The film can only envision two options for its heroine: wedded bliss or pathetic spinsterhood.

"I don't want to keep dating," Jane says, but "my only other option is to buy a dozen cats and call it a day." How about hunting wildebeest in Africa, going surfing in Costa Rica, becoming a prostitute in Paris, adopting triplets or writing a bestselling novel about something other than The Search for The One?

While "Jane" accurately portrays the pain and loneliness of being single, the film keeps circling but never hits a key point: If Jane had more self-confidence and a fuller life, if she cared a little less what men thought of her and spent a little more time doing what she wanted, she wouldn't be so desperate for a guy.

The movie also just barely touches on the common singles' misconception that the grass is always greener on the coupled side of the fence in the character of Natasha, whose boyfriend leaves her after she becomes pregnant. The full range of horrors possible in coupledom far outweigh the perils of singlehood.

Like a bad date, "Jane" is not really objectionable, just not too funny and not too interesting. I hate to say this about something so good-natured, but "Jane" is kind of dumb.

See Jane date. See viewer yawn.

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