Monday, September 24

Tomei, Downey shine in ‘Only You’


Tomei, Downey shine in ‘Only You’

By Lael Loewenstein

The last time director Norman Jewison ventured into romantic
comedy, he hit paydirt with the Oscar-winning "Moonstruck."
Jewison’s current film about amore, "Only You," hopes to do for
Marisa Tomei what "Moonstruck" did for Cher.

Tomei plays Faith, a Pittsburgh schoolteacher. Having learned
the name of her phantom future husband ­ Damon Bradley ­
at age 11 from a Ouija board, Faith settles instead for her nerdy
podiatrist boyfriend. On the brink of her wedding, Faith receives a
call from Damon Bradley, at the airport bound for Venice, Italy.
Convinced of her destiny ­ though they’ve never met ­
Faith throws caution to the wind and, with her good friend Kate
(Bonnie Hunt), boards the next plane to Venice. Before you can
blink, Faith and Kate have followed the elusive Damon Bradley to
Rome, losing him in a desperate search.

Hunt and Tomei are both so likeable that you’re willing to
forgive them for almost anything. If you’re a stickler for details,
there’s a lot to overlook in "Only You" ­ like, how do Faith
and Kate manage to determine at what hotel Damon Bradley is
staying? How do they manage to pull so many gorgeous outfits, none
of which seem to need ironing, out of their tiny carry-on bags? And
why, after a nine-hour flight to Italy, does neither one of them
suffer from jet lag (save one remark to the contrary by Kate)?
Furthermore, how are they ever going to pay their VISA bills from
this insanely expensive weekend? Don’t they realize transatlantic
plane tickets bought 20 minutes before departure can cost a
thousand dollars?

But these nettlesome questions are brushed aside as soon as
Damon Bradley reappears, played by Robert Downey Jr. in his
characteristic unflappable fashion. Downey romances Faith with
poetry, roses and a sensual moonlit dance by the Trevi fountain as
a musician plays "Some Enchanted Evening."

The enchantment dissipates, however, when Downey reveals he’s
not Damon Bradley ­ he’s a shoe salesman named Peter Wright.
This is when things start to go awry. The film’s denouement, having
a number of surprises, will remain one in this review.

Improbable? Sure. But improbability is the stuff of which great
romantic comedies are made, from "Roman Holiday" to "Sleepless in
Seattle," both of which are referenced in this film. What makes
"Only You" worth watching are the fine performances from Downey and
Tomei as the star-crossed lovers. And Bonnie Hunt, as Kate,
sparkles with exquisite comic timing. Well directed by Jewison and
filmed in luscious colors by Sven Nykvist, Diane Drake’s quirky,
charming script makes some biting remarks about men and romance,
only to reverse them later ­ this is, after all, a comedy.

Although Faith complains at one point that "life isn’t like the
movies," ultimately, "Only You" seems to confirm that it is.

MOVIE: "Only You" Written by Diane Drake. Directed by Norman
Jewison. Starring Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. Now
playing.

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