×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

It Could Happen to You

Clearly out to tap the same heartline reached by last year's "Sleepless in Seattle," TriStar looks to have another summertime hit with this charming romantic comedy -- one that's less gushy than "Sleepless" and will probably be a bit less gaudy at the box office. Even so, the "Honeymoon in Vegas" team of director Andrew Bergman and star Nicolas Cage again find themselves holding a winning ticket.

With:
Charlie Lang ... Nicolas Cage Yvonne Biasi ... Bridget Fonda Muriel Lang ... Rosie Perez Bo Williams ... Wendell Pierce Angel ... Isaac Hayes Jesu ... Victor Rojas Jack Gross ... Seymour Cassel Eddie Biasi ... Stanley Tucci Walter Zakuto ... Red Buttons

Clearly out to tap the same heartline reached by last year’s “Sleepless in Seattle,” TriStar looks to have another summertime hit with this charming romantic comedy — one that’s less gushy than “Sleepless” and will probably be a bit less gaudy at the box office. Even so, the “Honeymoon in Vegas” team of director Andrew Bergman and star Nicolas Cage again find themselves holding a winning ticket.

Presented in fairy tale form — down to its awkward, “once upon a time” narrated introduction –“It Could Happen to You” cultivates and actually merits the designation “Capra-esque.”

The simple premise (very loosely inspired by a true story) has affable New York cop Charlie (Cage) finding himself short of cash and promising hard-luck, recently bankrupted waitress Yvonne (Bridget Fonda) that he’ll split anything he wins from the lottery with her in lieu of a tip. The ticket turns out to be a $ 4 million winner and, much to the chagrin of his avaricious wife, Muriel (Rosie Perez), Charlie decides to honor his pledge. As Muriel proceeds to go about ostentatiously spending the loot, the bond between Charlie and Yvonne grows, with the two sharing good deeds that range from doling out free subway tokens to entertaining neighborhood kids.

In that respect, Bergman and writer Jane Anderson (who wrote HBO’s satiric “The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom”) wring a nice twist on the premise of “Indecent Proposal”

— namely, the power of money not only to bring people together but to drive them apart.

What really make the film, however, are Bergman’s general restraint despite the nature of the material, and the strong central performances. Cage and Fonda are extremely natural as the good-hearted lug and goodbye girl, while the squawking, raging Perez only needs to be fitted for a broomstick. Wendell Pierce also proves particularly likable as Charlie’s partner, a cop with an affinity for the Knicks and carbohydrates.

While less obvious than “Sleepless” in terms of dripping romance, “It Could Happen to You” does emulate some of its formula, from the classic song score (which includes a new rendition of “Always” by Tony Bennett) to Caleb Deschanel’s loving cinematography of the Big Apple.

Pic does have a balancing darker side, however, in Perez’s character and its clever spoofing of tabloid fascination in the central couple, which seems particularly timely in light of recent events. Bergman then really brings the homage to Capra home with the pic’s warm, bordering-on-irresistible finale.

Other tech credits are fine, with particular kudos to Perez’s laugh-out-loud wardrobe. As romances go, it should be noted the title works better than the initial “Cop Tips Waitress $ 2 Million”– a moniker still displayed on the cover of the New York Post, which plays a fairly significant supporting role in the movie.

Popular on Variety

It Could Happen to You

(Romantic comedy -- Color)

Production: A TriStar Pictures release of an Adelson/Baumgarten and Lobell/Bergman production. Produced by Mike Lobell. Executive producers, Gary Adelson, Craig Baumgarten, Joseph Hartwick. Directed by Andrew Bergman. Screenplay, Jane Anderson.

Crew: Camera (Technicolor), Caleb Deschanel; editor, Barry Malkin; music, Carter Burwell; production design, Bill Groom; art direction, Dennis Bradford; set decoration, George DeTitta Jr.; costume design, Julie Weiss; sound (Dolby), Gary Alper; assistant director, Henry Bronchtein; casting, John Lyons. Reviewed at the Beverly Connection, L.A., July 13, 1994. MPAA Rating: PG. Running time: 101 min.

With: Charlie Lang ... Nicolas Cage Yvonne Biasi ... Bridget Fonda Muriel Lang ... Rosie Perez Bo Williams ... Wendell Pierce Angel ... Isaac Hayes Jesu ... Victor Rojas Jack Gross ... Seymour Cassel Eddie Biasi ... Stanley Tucci Walter Zakuto ... Red Buttons

More Film

  • Scotty Bowers

    Scotty Bowers, Old Hollywood's Sexual Matchmaker, Dies at 96

    Scotty Bowers, a “sexual matchmaker” for dozens of stars during the Golden Age of Hollywood who wrote about his colorful — and sometimes unbelivable — life in his memoir “Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars,” died at his Laurel Canyon home on Sunday. He was 96. The [...]

  • AMC theater

    AMC Entertainment Introducing On-Demand Movie Service

    AMC Entertainment will introduce an online video store in the United States on Tuesday. Adam Aron, AMC’s president and chief executive, said that the AMC Theaters On Demand will offer about 2,000 films for sale or rent after their theatrical runs — much like Amazon or iTunes. Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony and Paramount have [...]

  • Scarlett Johansson poses for photographers upon

    Scarlett Johansson 'Pushing' for All-Women Marvel Movie

    After the epic battle scene in “Avengers: Endgame” depicted the female superheroes uniting to protect Spider-Man from Thanos, Marvel fans started wondering if they’ll ever see the women unite for a standalone movie. “Captain Marvel” star Brie Larson generated even more buzz when she told Variety that she and other female co-stars have approached Marvel [...]

  • Ivana Lombardi Netflix

    Annapurna Film Head Ivana Lombardi Named Director of Indies at Netflix (EXCLUSIVE)

    Annapurna Pictures president of film Ivana Lombardi is moving across town to Netflix, after almost a year in her role at Megan Ellison’s company. As of Nov. 6, Lombardi will serve as director of independent films at the streamer. She will report directly to Lisa Nishimura, Netflix’s vice president of independent film and documentary features. [...]

  • Zoe Kravitz 'Big Little Lies' TV

    Zoe Kravitz to Play Catwoman in 'The Batman'

    “Big Little Lies” star Zoe Kravitz has been tapped to play Catwoman, the antiheroine and sometime love interest of the Caped Crusader, in Matt Reeves’ upcoming “The Batman.” Kravitz will star opposite Robert Pattinson as Batman. In recent weeks, the role came down to Kravitz, Zazie Beetz of “Atlanta,” “Deadpool 2” and “Joker” and “Baby [...]

  • Hadley Robinson Amy Poehler

    'Little Women' Actress Hadley Robinson to Star in Amy Poehler's 'Moxie'

    “Utopia” and “Little Women” actress Hadley Robinson has been tapped to star in Amy Poehler’s next directorial effort “Moxie.” Lauren Tsai is also on board to co-star in the Netflix movie. “Moxie” follows a teenage girl (Robinson) from a small town who is inspired by her mother’s Riot Girl past and starts a feminist revolution [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content