‘It Could Happen to You’ (1994) Review

Kind-hearted cop Charlie Lang is someone who always wants to do the right thing. While he’s content with his modest life, his wife Muriel is craving more. Namely, more money. She is growing frustrated with their meager lifestyle. When Charlie decides to play the lottery, he also comes up short when leaving a tip for Yvonne, a diner waitress. The latter has had to declare bankruptcy thanks to her husband maxing out her Mastercard.

Charlie promises Yvonne that he will split the winnings with her as a tip if he wins the lottery that evening. If he doesn’t win, he’ll come back anyway and give her double the tip that he would have left that day had he had the money. Yvonne humors him enough to agree, and that night, Charlie and Muriel discover they’ve picked the winning lotto numbers. But so has an entire bowling league, so the $64 million payout dwindles to $4 million. Things grow even more strained between Charlie and Muriel when Charlie explains his deal with Yvonne.

This was my first watch of It Could Happen to You, and it was a long time coming as I had wanted to see it for ages. Thank you streaming services! I really enjoy Nicolas Cage in his romantic comedies, and this movie was no different. He and Bridget Fonda have a warm, cozy sort of chemistry that makes you root for them, despite Cage’s character being married. Rosie Perez was hilarious as Charlie’s discontented, shallow wife Muriel. Even though you knew she was not the right kind of woman for Charlie, Perez really made the character fun to watch.

There was something really romantic and old school about this film. Yes, it was released in 1994, but I’m not entirely sure they make romantic comedies like this today. A simple premise surrounding two simple people who fall in love amid life-changing circumstances. It just toes the line of perhaps being too sentimental. Thankfully, Cage and Fonda are so genuine in their roles that it feels more romantic than schmaltzy, and that’s exactly what I like to see in a rom-com.

It’s also great to see small supporting turns by Richard Jenkins and Stanley Tucci, who are always welcome no matter what the movie may be. Tucci plays Yvonne’s jerkish husband that she’s too broke to divorce, and Jenkins is the smarmy divorce attorney that Muriel hires when she decides she wants all of the winning money. The moral of this romance is that money isn’t everything and sometimes love really is enough. Obviously, this is a life lesson most of us already know, but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of it in an old school, feel good rom-com.

Nicolas Cage has made many stinkers in his career, but It Could Happen to You is not one of them. I would recommend this movie for any rom-com fan who just wants to sit back and be entertained by a cute, funny romance.

Author: Romona Comet

"I'm probably watching a rom-com right now."