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It Could Happen to You (1994)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  29 July 1994 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 26,277 users  
Reviews: 73 user | 34 critic

A police officer promises to share his lottery ticket with a waitress in lieu of a tip.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlie Lang
Yvonne Biasi
Muriel Lang
Bo Williams
Jack Gross
Eddie Biasi
Sal Bontempo
Walter Zakuto
C. Vernon Hale
Robert Dorfman ...
Beatrice Winde ...
Ginny Yang ...
Mrs. Sun


Charlie and Muriel Lang have led simple lives - for most of their existance. That's until they win $4 million on the lottery! There is a problem, however. Prior to winning the lottery, Charlie had eaten at a cafe and hadn't been able to tip the waitress. He had promised her, jokingly, that if he won the lottery he'd give her half of it. This is why his wife, Muriel decides to leave him. She doesn't want the waitress to get a cent of their money. Infact she wants all $4 million for herself! Written by Michael Feller <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's not about money. It's about life. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild language and a scene of cop action | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

29 July 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cop Gives Waitress $2 Million Tip!  »

Box Office


£300,230 (UK) (11 November 1994)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


At Charlie and Muriel's divorce proceedings, Muriel has had a breast augmentation. They are Rosie Perez's real breasts. She had to have them bound down for the first half of the movie, to appear smaller. See more »


At approximately 1:06 just after the scene when Eddy shows up in Yvonne's apartment, the scene switches to Charlie and Muriel's place. A microphone dips into the picture in the upper left corner and then again just to the right of the first appearance. See more »


Charlie Lang: Meatball! That's what I want!
See more »


Referenced in The Critic: Siskel & Ebert & Jay & Alice (1995) See more »


Swingdown, Swingtown
Written and Performed by Wynton Marsalis
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User Reviews

"Cop Gives Waitress $2 Million Tip!" was working title
6 March 2006 | by (Topeka,Kansas,USA) – See all my reviews

I've read that,among other people,critic Roger Ebert liked the afore-mentioned title for this movie as opposed to the name it actually got. Am I alone in the only one who thinks that the original title was NOT a good idea? Think about it:how easily would the title of above roll of the tongue when discussing movies or going to the ticket window? Titles that have indirect subjects in their sentences to me,seem like they're trying to test the memory of the viewer wanting to see the film as much as they are trying to get his or her attention.

OK,'nuff said about that.

As for the movie: Unapologetically sweet,this is one part fairy-tale,one part morality lesson(like those two elements COULDN'T be one and the same thing!),using none other than the Big Apple as its backdrop.

Honest beat cop Charlie Lang(Nicolas Cage in possibly one of the least conflicted and cleanest character portrayals he's given)is short of change one day and,while stopping for coffee at a street diner,uses in lieu of a tip,part of his lottery ticket to the harried but pretty and good-natured waitress(Bridget Fonda,in a word:likable). When that ticket wins a large,metro-area jackpot,Charlie does the right thing and splits his portion of the winnings with the waitress,who needs that money desperately: she's in debt to her ears and has a mooch of an ex-husband(Stanley Tucci)who won't leave her alone. This act of generosity does not sit well at all with Charlie's vain wife Muriel(a screechy,believable Rosie Perez),who eventually acts to have Charlie--and in the process Yvonne the waitress--cut from the winnings entirely.

People who like to complain that movies these days have no sense of either morality or sentimentality would be wisely steered in the direction of this flick. Even though it's over a decade old,it's story is easily transferable and,while I am usually loathe to suggest remakes,would actually be receptive to a remake of this film(provided the screenwriter and director were willing to change some elements of the story,like location,circumstances or even genders). A film that seems to have been made by the ghost of Frank Capra,who would've been possessing Andrew Bergman(who successfully directed Mr.CAge in "HOneymoon in Vegas" a few years before). A good rent for anyone who likes a little sentimentality in their comedy.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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who wouldnt be mad at their husband LilyViolet
He didn't have to give her $2m strangerfromuk
What would do you if you won $4 million? cmyklefty
little annoyance imagine85
What are they throwing at the end? lexie3787
Macadamia Nuts Katrinkatina
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