It Could Happen to You

Though set at present, It Could Happen to You, another schmaltzy if intermittently entertaining romantic comedy, might as well have been set in the l950s, or even the l930s, because at heart it's a Frank Capra film of the Depression, celebrating the decency and honesty of the “little people.”

Originally titled “A Cop Gives a Waitress a Two Million Dollar Tip,” it's the saccharinic story of a decent New York cop named Charlie (Nicholas Cage) who one day, short of money for a tip, promises a waitress named Yvonne (Bridget Fonda) half the earnings from his N.Y. state lottery ticket. Charlie doesn't even dream about winning, least of all about the reaction of his greedy, upwardly-mobile wife, Muriel (Rosie Perez in a bad performance), in case he wins.

You can see that director Andrew Bergman (Honeymoon in Vegas) was trying to make a romantic comedy a la Sleepless in Seattle–centering his movie on two blue-collar stiffs who fatefully belong to each other. But except for the proficient acting of Cage and Fonda, his new movie lacks either the charm of a good romance or the edge of a biting satire. With its draggy pace, I found the picture awkward and in moments even dull.

Like Corrina, Corrina, what this comedy needs is a wittier dialogue and funnier one-liners. Yet unlike the New Line picture, It Could Happen to You can boast impressive production values, particularly Caleb Deschanel's cinematography of the Big Apple.