Norman Jewison tries to revive some of the Moonstruck magic, via a side trip through Sleepless in Seattle, in Only You, a puff of romantic comedy set in a storybook Italy and populated by characters who believe in pursuing their amorous destinies as long as it involves staying in five-star hotels.
As a child, Faith is informed by both a Ouija board and a fortuneteller that her man of destiny will be named Damon Bradley. Fourteen years later, Faith (Marisa Tomei), a Pittsburgh schoolteacher, is set to marry straight-and-narrow podiatrist Dwayne (John Benjamin Hickey) when an old friend of Dwayne’s calls in his regrets for not being able to attend the wedding, since he’s leaving for Venice that very day. Oh yes, his name is Damon Bradley.
Faith immediately spins into orbit at this and rushes to the airport with best friend Kate (Bonnie Hunt). In Rome, through a mix-up and a lie, Faith comes to believe that a friendly Yank (Robert Downey Jr) is Damon Bradley. By morning, the smitten young man has to admit that he’s actually named Peter. Peter realizes that the only way he can keep Faith in the country, and his chances alive, is to help her find the real Damon and hope for the best.
Jewison knows exactly where the laugh and welling-up buttons are that will hook the audience into this middle-class fairy-tale-come-true, and has smartly cast it with engaging personalities. Tomei comes on a little strong for some tastes, but her enthusiasm and ordinary-gal quality will get most viewers rooting for her. Downey is spirited and winning in one of the more conventional roles he’s played to date. Hunt has most of the good lines and delivers them with expert timing.