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Laramie Movie Scope:
It Could Happen to You

A sweet and smart romantic comedy

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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August 1, 1994 -- ``It Could Happen to You'' is a nice little gem of a summer romantic film that ought to pick up your spirits.

Starring Nicolas Cage, Bridget Fonda and Rosie Perez, it tells the story of a cop, Charlie Lang (Cage), who offers to split his lottery ticket with a waitress, Yvonne Biasi (Fonda), because he doesn't have the cash for a tip. Lang's wife, Muriel (Perez), goes ballistic when she finds out her husband is giving the waitress $2 million of their $4 million lottery winnings.

Muriel is corrupted by the lottery winnings, becoming a scheming, grasping, greedy shrew, while Charlie and Yvonne revel in using the money to make other people happy. Perez is such a fine actress, however, that you really can't hate her, even though she is corrupted by money. She portrays a person who is helpless in the face of her weaknesses.

Charlie and Yvonne buy people free subway passes, they rent Yankee Stadium so poor kids can play baseball there and give their friends gifts. The three main characters represent the best and worst in human nature. It's like an old Frank Capra movie because it's sentimental, but also smart.

Comparing it to the Capra film ``It's A Wonderful Life,'' Perez translates into Mr. Potter and Charlie is, of course Jimmy Stewart. There's even an angel (played by Isaac Hays of all people) in ``It Could Happen to You.''

Although the film is light and sentimental, it doesn't go overboard on the sentimentality. The characters have a certain amount of street smartness to go with the romanticism. The relationship that develops between Charlie and Yvonne is one of the best romantic stories I have seen in a long time. This film deserves the kind of success that ``Sleepless in Seattle'' had, because it is a better film.

The acting performances by all three main characters are splendid.

The music by Carter Burwell is a real plus. The writing by Jane Anderson and direction by Andrew Bergman (``Honeymoon in Vegas'') are both top notch.

It rates a B+.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)