Though sentiment sinks it in the end, this moonbeam of a love story is just the sweet and sexy ticket for romantics who celebrate Valentine’s Day all year long. It’s rare luck just to have Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny) and Rosie Perez (White Men Can’t Jump) in the same movie. They’re both knockouts. Tomei is Caroline, a waitress whose knack for picking the wrong men is wreaking havoc with her self-esteem. Perez is Cindy, her sassy best friend and fellow wage slave at Jim’s Diner, in Minneapolis. Caroline is curious about Adam (Christian Slater), the hermitlike busboy who never says a word but keeps giving her longing looks. Cindy disses Adam for being weird, dirty and the rumored recipient of a heart from a baboon donor but candidly tells Caroline, “I’d do him if he wasn’t so dumb.”
Adam isn’t dumb, as Caroline learns when he saves her from a rape — scarily staged by director Tony Bill (Five Corners) — and becomes her protector when she walks home at night. Adam, the product of an orphanage where his infirmities reduced his contact with the outside world, is a lover of art and music and speaks with a halting eloquence. The Rain Man-Dying Young elements in Tom Sierchio’s script are pitfalls that Slater dodges with a wonderfully appealing performance. His love scenes with the dazzling Tomei have an uncommon delicacy. But it’s Tomei and Perez who give Untamed Heart its bouyant wit. Their friendship could have sustained an entire movie. It’s certainly the best part of this one.