It Could Happen to You

Sweetness is fine as far as it goes, but this oddball romance could have used a twist of lemon. Charlie Lang, played by Nicolas Cage, is a decent New York cop whose hairdresser wife, Muriel (Rosie Perez), gives him more hell than a den of dope dealers. Muriel wants bucks, big ones. She gets her wish when Charlie wins the lottery for $4 million. But the softy says he owes half to waitress Yvonne Biasi (Bridget Fonda); he promised her a chunk in exchange for a tip. Naturally, Charlie keeps his promise, prompting Muriel to split and sue and Charlie and Yvonne to fall in love. This isn't life, it's a Hollywood comedy.

Sad for a little while, it's a Hollywood comedy that bubbles over into bliss. Director Andrew Bergman (Honeymoon in Vegas, The Freshman) knows his farce and his actors. He brings out the spitfire in Perez, the angel in Fonda and the honorable Everyman in that nut-ball specialist Cage. When Charlie and Yvonne dance in a restaurant to a melting Tony Bennett rendition of Irving Berlin's "Now It Can Be Told," it looks like Sleepless in Seattle revisited. Regrettably, Bergman can't do much with a one-note script by Jane Anderson that reduces Perez to a grating cliché, Cage and Fonda to a parody of Ken and Barbie and our interest in what could happen to them to dry ash.

From The Archives Issue 201: December 4, 1975
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