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Overall Rating

Awesome: 18.57%
Worth A Look41.43%
Average: 38.57%
Pretty Bad: 1.43%
Total Crap: 0%

7 reviews, 28 user ratings

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Return to Me
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by Scott Weinberg

"Her heart will go on...and on...and on."
3 stars

Once again, we are treated to a romantic comedy with a 'gimmick'. Apparently the old 'boy meets girl' plot doesn't offer enough cinematic potential any more and the new trend is that romantic comedies are always based on some silly hook: Girl falls in love with rabbi, boy falls in love with robot, boy and girl fall in love with mutant lesbian vampire, or in this case - boy falls in love with beautiful heart-transplant recipient. Did I mention that the girl's heart belonged to the boy's recently-killed wife?

While Return to Me is certainly better than many of its ilk (Simply Irresistable or You've Got Mail, anyone?), the final result is a movie that's ultimately too predictable and corny for its own good. Despite a wonderful performance by the lovely Minnie Driver and a surprisingly strong turn by David Duchovny, this movie mainly staggers from scene to scene, only intermittently tossing up something solid.

Most of the actors showcased here are entirely enjoyable; Minnie Driver is vulnerable and lovable as Grace, a young woman who's recently received a donor heart. At the same time, we meet amiable (and apparently very successful) contractor Bob, who has just lost his wife...after her heart is removed for a new transplant. (Guess where this is headed?) The two leads transcend the mawkish predictability of the script, and Duchovny is especially strong. Considering the paper-thin role he plays on The X-Files, it was a treat to be actually enjoying a performance of his for a change.

As is often the case in these romantic comedies, there are more than a few 'colorful supporting characters'. As Grace's best friend Megan, Bonnie Hunt is a stitch, and so is Jim Belushi as her slovenly but sweet husband. Some of this movie's finest moments come when these characters are onscreen, and you may start to wonder if the minor characters are more interesting than the central ones.

Faring not as well are veteran actors Carroll O'Connor and Robert Loggia. As Grace's doting grandfather, O'Connor overdoes his Irish accent by about 35 percent, and Loggia is nearly out of control with his ridiculously loud Italian schtick. Since these guys run their own Italian-Irish restaurant, expect lots of tired humor about drunk Irishmen and bull-headed Italians. Return to Me has way too many scenes of these two, along with their two other poker cronies, pontificating on music and sex, smoking cigars, and basically acting like the stereotypical 'characters' they are.

As far as the whole "Oh my god, I have my new boyfriend's dead wife's heart...How do I tell him?" angle is concerned, there really aren't too many ways for a movie like this to end:

A) She tells him about the heart, they fall in love anyway and smile as the credits roll,

B) She tells him about the dead wife's heart, and he freaks out and starts looking for UFOs all over the place,

C) The four old guys go on a shooting spree over the price of spinach,


D) She tells him about the dead wife's heart, and he sits by her bedside as she slowly slips into a Hollywood Death Scene.

OK, it could end differently than those choices, but I still just wasn't really into it, which is strange since I have this nearly overpowering adoration for Minnie Driver. I think she's just peachy. But Return to Me is merely a mildly entertaining diversion. First-time director Bonnie Hunt doesn't seem to know how to stage a scene, and you're left watching scene after scene of people sitting down and people talking. 'Bland' is a good word for the visual sense here.

While this movie offers some likeable actors in a mildly amusing story, it's not nearly a film to get excited about. If you catch it on cable one night, you could certainly do a lot worse. Without Minnie Driver on hand, I shudder to think about what this movie could have been.

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originally posted: 12/11/00 13:23:45
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User Comments

6/17/18 Anne predictable 3 stars
3/01/17 Suzanne such a sweet movie; one of my favorites 5 stars
1/08/09 Rachel minnie driver and david duchovny had great chemistry! 4 stars
1/18/06 cody a touching film that was very well acted and it sentimental movie that hits your heart hard 4 stars
11/13/04 Jennifer One of the best EVER 5 stars
9/14/04 tatum Wonderful, and very funny 5 stars
7/18/03 Chris This is my favorite movie ever. I've seen it 47 times in two years. A masterpiece. 5 stars
4/16/03 JL This is a very good, sweet movie, with some really funny parts thanks to Hunt & Belushi . 5 stars
5/16/02 The Skating Peppercorn Yodelers A bit too quirky, but leads are at their most charming. 4 stars
5/15/02 Blake This movie was sad but awsome! 5 stars
12/30/01 Sara best film that I have ever seen! 5 stars
8/25/01 hilary pretty bad 2 stars
8/13/01 Lucie B Sweet,romantic and funny. Duchovny is charming the entire cast is just great. 4 stars
6/05/01 Psyko Doug Good story, good acting, the old men are hilareous. Not a chick flick- a good movie. 5 stars
2/11/01 Melanie Perera I loved the innocence and simplicity of their relationship 5 stars
12/19/00 natasha I want Bonnie Hunt to star in her movies! 4 stars
12/12/00 Nikki Laughed & cried....great movie 5 stars
10/26/00 Pearl Loved this movie 5 stars
8/15/00 rosangela Adorable film. David Duchovny is superb! 5 stars
8/06/00 Belinda Seen it all before, get the video or wait for Foxtel. 3 stars
7/10/00 Andrew J. Not a classic, but quite good. Can we get more movies from Bonnie Hunt please? 4 stars
5/06/00 Katsat Sweet, enjoyable movie. Funny, touching & entertaining.My hubby liked it, too. 4 stars
4/18/00 Linda I thought it was a great feel good movie. I also think it was a great vehicle for David D 4 stars
4/13/00 mrhide it's a chick's flick 3 stars
4/10/00 Malbert I thought I was going to hate this...I loved it, it was too cute! 5 stars
4/05/00 Pat A film with heart. Sweet and innocent. Hilariously funny. Great performances by all. 4 stars
2/19/00 Andi C. A good date movie 4 stars
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  03-Aug-2000 (M)

Directed by
  Bonnie Hunt

Written by
  Don Lake

  David Duchovny
  Minnie Driver
  Carroll O'Connor
  Robert Loggia
  James Belushi
  Bonnie Hunt

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