The Films of Andrew Bergman
Honeymoon in Vegas (January 5/17)
An engaging (if overlong) romantic comedy, Honeymoon in Vegas follows Nicolas Cage's Jack Singer as he finally works up the nerve to propose to his longtime girlfriend, Betsy (Sarah Jessica Parker) - with the couple's decision to elope in Las Vegas paving the way for a smooth gambler (James Caan's Tommy Korman) to swoop in for the kill. It's clear right from the get-go that Honeymoon in Vegas benefits substantially from Cage's idiosyncratic and entirely irresistible turn as the amiable central character, and it's apparent, too, that the palpable chemistry between Cage and Parker goes a long way towards initially capturing the viewer's interest and sympathy. Filmmaker Andrew Bergman appropriately keeps the tone light and the pace brisk - the colorful atmosphere is perpetuated by an ongoing emphasis on gaudy Vegas-specific elements (including an Elvis-heavy soundtrack) - so it's somewhat disappointing to note that Honeymoon in Vegas suffers from a meandering and comparatively underwhelming midsection. It's fairly apparent that there's simply not enough story here to sustain a 96 minute movie, which paves the way for a second act that's rife with padded-out, needless sequences (eg Jack's visit with a quirky Hawaiian village leader, played by Peter Boyle). The film does recover for a satisfying (and fairly exciting) climactic stretch, however, with the end result a perfectly affable endeavor that's ultimately as forgettable as it is entertaining.
It Could Happen To You
Despite the inclusion of a few questionable elements and interludes, It Could Happen To You generally comes off as an absolutely charming romantic comedy that benefits substantially from the unequivocal chemistry between its stars. The movie casts Nicolas Cage as Charlie Lang, a compassionate New York City cop whose decision to tip an unlucky waitress (Bridget Fonda's Yvonne) half of his theoretical lottery winnings transforms the pair into an overnight media sensation after Charlie hits the $4 million jackpot. Problems ensue as Charlie's obnoxious wife (Rosie Perez's Muriel) balks at sharing the winnings with a total stranger, while Yvonne finds herself forced to contend with the sudden appearance of her estranged (and thoroughly sleazy) husband (Stanley Tucci's Eddie). Director Andrew Bergman has infused It Could Happen To You with an irresistibly old-fashioned sensibility that's reflected in virtually every aspect of the proceedings, with the film undoubtedly at its best when focused on the burgeoning friendship/relationship between Cage and Fonda's respective characters. The actors' effortlessly charismatic work proves instrumental in allowing the viewer to overlook the few flaws within Jane Anderson's screenplay, including the almost comically loathsome nature of Charlie's wife (ie her disdain for the man is palpable) and a third act courtroom sequence that's admittedly kind of tedious. And although the film is never quite able to top the sequence in which Charlie informs Yvonne of her $2 million tip - an undeniably rapturous moment that virtually embodies the concept of movie magic - It Could Happen To You nevertheless comes off as a pervasively romantic endeavor that boasts as appealing an onscreen couple as one can recall within recent cinematic history.
Isn't She Great