It Could Happen to You (1994) starring Nicolas Cage, Bridget Fonda, Rosie Perez, Isaac Hayes, Wendell Pierce, Stanley Tucci, Seymour Cassel, Red Buttons directed by Andrew Bergman Movie Review

It Could Happen to You (1994)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Nicolas Cage in It Could Happen to You (1994)

It Could Be You

Back on the 19th November 1994 the majority of the UK was gripped in lottery fever as they waited with baited breath as the first national lottery game was drawn live on TV. Eight days earlier saw the UK release of "It Could Happen to You", a masterstroke in publicity for both the National Lottery as well as the Hollywood moguls at Columbia/Tristar. The reason being is that "It Could Happen to You" is an amusing and occasionally tender romantic comedy revolving around an honourable lottery winner and a down on her luck waitress.

Charlie Lang (Nicolas Cage - Guarding Tess) is a New York cop with a kind heart who strikes it lucky when he wins a share of the lottery. But, the day before, having found himself without enough money to tip Yvonne (Bridget Fonda - Little Buddha), the waitress at a small diner, Charlie offers her half of anything he wins with his lottery ticket. Charlie's wife Muriel (Rosie Perez - Pineapple Express), is not as kind as her husband and is not impressed by Charlie's honest and kind nature when he seeks out Yvonne to share his winnings with her. As Charlie and Muriel grow apart, Charlie and Yvonne grow closer together.

Bridget Fonda in It Could Happen to You (1994)

The initial concept of "It Could Happen to You" surrounding a bloke splitting his winnings with a waitress comes from a true story which happened in America in 1984, although the events which happen in the film are certainly contrived to make the story worthy of Hollywood attention. "It Could Happen to You" itself is a romantic, drama with a touch of comedy, and sadly is a bit too much like a fairytale, especially with a sentimental ending.

The plot to "It Could Happen to You" actually has two main strands which combine to make an overall enjoyable movie which at 101 minutes long, is just about the right length. The main story line is the growing friendship/romance between Charlie and Yvonne, as they share the same milk of human kindness for people who are worse off than themselves. This is a great storyline which allows for some great scenes as they spend more and more time together getting to know each other, but also helping those in need. It demonstrates that for them, money is not everything and although they both have come from less than fortunate circumstances, they gain pleasure through making other people happy.

At the other end of the scale you have the storyline surrounding the greed for money, which focuses on the actions of Muriel as she shows that her only true love was for wealth and fame. It is no surprise that this side of the storyline is shown in a slightly negative light as the main emphasis of "It Could Happen to You" is on the romantic storyline.

The lead role of Charlie Lang is played by Nicolas Cage and shows that he has the ability to play a quiet, subtle character as well as the outlandish, over confident ones which he now more famed for playing. The character of Charlie is the good, honest cop who gains satisfaction through helping others. Yes this is a very fairytale style character, but Cage creates an enjoyable realism to him which helps to bring this film into a worldly realm, rather than totally unbelievable.

Opposite him, as the lucky waitress Yvonne, is Bridget Fonda who like Cage, brings a certain amount of realism to a character that could be perceived as too good to be true. Surprisingly she matches the performance of Cage and the chemistry between them is absolutely magnificent. The most annoying character in the film is that of Muriel, played by Rosie Perez. It's pretty obvious that Muriel has been created to be purposefully annoying and Perez does a great job of creating this through her constant moaning and shrieking.

What this all boils down to is that although "It Could Happen to You" was made back in 1994, it still has so much charm about it, in a very similar ways to the classic romantic/comedies films from the 50s and 60s. Most of this is down to the great storyline but also the performances from the 3 main stars. In my opinion, "It Could Happen to You" will appeal to such a wide variety of people, both male and female, as it is a very watch able film which demonstrates the nicer side of life.