They just dont make em like they used to. Remember when romantic comedies were funny, sweet, heartfelt and genuine? Not raunchy, or clichÃ©d, or performed like the actors just want a paycheck? They dont come around too often, but they do exist. Like 2008s Definitely Maybe, 2004s Love Actually, and a handful of others, the early ’90s romantic comedy It Could Happen To You is one of those films.
Charlie (Nicolas Cage, Moonstruck) is a New York City cop stuck in a loveless, thankless marriage with his materialistic, lottery playing wife Muriel (Rosie Perez, Untamed Heart). Yvonne (Bridget Fonda, Single White Female) is a New York City waitress, down on her luck. Shes just filed for bankruptcy and is having “the worst day of her life.” When Charlie and his partner visit Yvonnes restaurant and have to leave early to respond to a call, instead of leaving a tip, Charlie tells Yvonne that he will give her half his lottery winnings or he will come back the next day with her tip. Thinking that her day couldnt get any worse, Yvonne sarcastically chooses half of what he wins in the lottery.
Charlie and Muriel win. Charlie keeps his promise to Yvonne who is ecstatic, but Muriel does not share in the excitement. She and Charlie separate; Muriel spending her share of the money on clothes and furnishings for their home, and Charlie and Yvonne spend their share by doing charitable things like taking the neighborhood kids to Yankee Stadium to play baseball. There is no question how the film will end, so its really not much of a spoiler that Charlie and Yvonne end up together.
Even though the film ends on a predictable note, its how they get to the end that is so enjoyable. Charlie is a character in Capra-esque quality. Hes the good guy that we all want to root for. Same for Yvonne. Shes got some severe problems in her life, but always has an upbeat attitude. These two are characters that we all want to be in our real lives. Muriel and Yvonnes deadbeat ex-husband Eddie (Stanley Tucci, The Devil Wears Prada) are the perfect villains for our protagonists. They are the real-life bad guys in everyones lives. Each of them are people who will hold you back, only wanting things for their own selfish gain. Everyone has a Muriel or an Eddie in their life.
The fairy-tale quality of the film is enhanced by the smooth baritone narration of Isaac Hayes (South Park), who plays an undercover reporter for the New York Post. His role in the film is more than what it appears. The music in the film consists mainly of American Standards by artists such as Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Tony Bennett and the Supremes. This music gives the film a timeless feel. Also adding to the enjoyment of the film are two unforgettable supporting characters, Muriel and Charlies lawyers played by Richard Jenkins (The Visitor) and Red Buttons (Pete’s Dragon) respectively. They give what could be the slowest part of the film some added flair.
The overall story is preposterously peppy. A New York cop giving $2 million dollars of his own lottery winnings to a waitress hes only met once? And theres a happy ending? But for two million different reasons, It Could Happen To You works, lifting the spirits of the viewer making them think that all of this could really happen to them.
This Blu-Ray release is presented in 1080p HD with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The transfer seems a little grainy, but considering that the last time I watched the film was on VHS, this looks much better than I’ve ever seen it. The sound is HD surround and I thought the sound transfer to BD was very nicely done.
No real extras to speak of. I have to comment on the nifty looking menu and scene selections screen, but other than that, we get nothing except for the disc being BD Live enabled.
Trailers: Made of Honor, 13 Going on 30, commercial for BD Live
I’m always disappointed when there are no extras included on a Blu-Ray release. With so much extra space available, why hurry to release an older film on Blu-Ray without any extras? Nonetheless, It Could Happen To You is a lovely little romantic comedy that is sure to get many spins in the player.
Sony Pictures presents It Could Happen To You. Directed by: Andrew Bergman. Starring: Nicolas Cage, Bridget Fonda, Rosie Perez, Stanley Tucci, Isaac Hayes. Written by: Jane Anderson. Running time: 101 minutes. Rating: PG. Released on DVD: May 5, 2009. <Available at Amazon.com
Tags: Frank Capra, Nicolas Cage, Richard Jenkins, Stanley Tucci