Despite some strong thematic material and a vibrant central performance, Baby, It’s You remains an essentially unfulfilled romantic drama. John Sayles’ third directorial outing, penned from a story by coproducer Amy Robinson, improves as it moves along from 1966 to a slightly later time frame, but can’t recoup from the ultimately unbelievable pairing of leading characters.
Film has an elegantly dressed Italian street kid with the mysterious name of Sheik pursue, win, lose and, at length, haunt the emotional life of a bright, ambitious and terribly attractive high school drama student, Jill.
When the pair split at the time of her prom, after an affectionate but still chaste courtship, the two travel radically different roads from Trento, NJ, she to school and encroaching hippiedom, and he to Miami to follow his dream of being Frank Sinatra.
In spite of being a character which could have used more fleshing out in the writing, it’s Rosanna Arquette who makes Baby, It’s You persistently watchable. Resembling something of a more voluptuous cross between Nastassja Kinski and Andrey Hepburn, to whom her character is compared in the film, Arquette’s exceedingly alive performance shows great potential. As the Sinatra idolator, Vincent Spano, with his hair greased back and clothes beautifully pressed, looks just like the poor man’s idea of elegance he’s supposed to embody. He does a good turn, but unavoidably suffers from miscasting of his character opposite Arquette’s.