The film opens with a loving husband and wife preparing for a very important fund raising dinner. The evening ends with the loss of the wife. In a hospital a weak young woman who may die soon if she can not get a new heart. Jump ahead one year the young woman received a heart and is trying to adjust to a life no longer counted by hours or days, she can actually make plans. The grieving husband and his dog are still trying to adjust to life without his wife. His friends keep trying to pry him from his "work is my life" existence by setting him up on blinds dates. Finally he actually shows up for one at an Irish-Italian restaurant where he finds himself more attracted to the waitress than his blind date. He finds an excuse to return to the restaurant in hopes of seeing the waitress again, there's just something attractive about her. Unknown to both the attraction they both feel for one another is Grace has the heart of Bob's dead wife. What can you say after that! Carroll O'Connor says ...Written by
The role of Joe Dayton was originally offered to Jon Favreau. He declined, citing the fact that he did not want to portray a supporting character. Jim Belushi then accepted. See more »
Grace sends her letter to her heart donor's family in a small (5-1/2 or 6") envelope, but when she pulls the envelope out from under the box on Bob's dresser, it's grown to be a full size (9") envelope. See more »
Whatever you do, don't shave your legs.
Well, then you definitely won't let it go too far.
Megan! It's a *first* date!
Yeah, well, I married a first date, missy, and you know how it is. You're out with a guy, you find him attractive, and suddenly everything he says sounds brilliant. Hairy legs are your only link to reality.
I think you should needle-point that on a pillow.
Well, I just might! It kept me a virgin until... y'know, *whenever*.
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A warm, fuzzy romantic comedy with heart. ***1/2 out of ****.
RETURN TO ME / (2000) ***1/2
Starring: David Duchovny, Minnie Driver, Bonnie Hunt, David Alan Grier, Joely Richardson, James Belushi, Robert Loggia, Eddie Jones, and Carroll O'Connor. Directed by Bonnie Hunt. Written by Bonnie Hunt and Don Lake. Running time: 113 minutes. Rated PG (for language and thematic elements).
"Return to Me" is a warm and fuzzy romantic comedy with heart-in metamorphic and literal terms. Unlike a lot of recent romances, this film is not suggestive or sexy, but gentle and gradual. Director, writer and star Bonnie Hunt is descriptive in believable methods, detailing human emotions and the bitterness loneliness. This is one of the most effective, if somewhat formulaic, comedy-dramas this year.
David Duchovny stars as Bob Rueland, a modern day construction consultant. He and his wife, Elizabeth (Joely Richardson), are a happily married, offspring-free couple living a life of honesty and hard work. Elizabeth is in the process of founding a natural habitat for gorillas currently living in enclosed captivity. Bob's best friend, Charlie Johnson, (David Alan Grier) supports the Rueland's whenever need may be.
"Return to Me" contains two separate story lines before narrative connection in the second act. The secondary story centers on a young woman named Grace Briggs (Minnie Driver), who requires a heart transplant in the very near future. Megan and Joe Dayton (Bonnie Hunt and James Belushi) support her. This family owns an Italian Restaurant in which Bob and Grace meet one night.
This is an excellent setup containing thoroughly developed characters, a clear dramatic premise, emotional and physical conflicts, and an unusual structure. Although we do not witness some of the important narrative actions, (Grace's recovery from surgery, an automobile accident resulting in the death of a character), the film firmly paces itself with various plot elements and emotional qualities.
"Return to Me" inhabits many enormously likable characters. Both central characters, Bob Rueland and Grace Briggs, empathetic and believable, are in a homespun situation. They both contain chemistry-rich elegance and gracefulness. There are very funny moments planted by Megan and Joe's comically dysfunctional family. This family appears somewhat unfocused but wisely portrayed as background characters developing Grace's lifestyle with more depth.
The film's humor is handled with delicacy and knowledge. The filmmakers are careful not to travel over the top in hilarity; this is not a story about slapstick issues but about heartfelt secrets and personal fears. Comedy is not overabundant nor overwhelming and does not distract the story from developing its themes. Every funny moment in "Return To Me" is scattered throughout the context of the plot.
David Duchovny and Minnie Driver pair up for the perfect unlikely romantic couple. The inspirational performance by Driver induces lovable charm and imagination. Duchovny is also engagingly sweet, filling his character with polished humility. Likewise, the background performances are magically funny and heartwarming. The actors paint their characters beautifully.
"Return to Me" is the kind of date movie where the characters and the audience go home happy and warm. Bonnie Hunt is on target with this comedy straight from the heart, leaving viewers with a cuddly feeling of satisfaction.
"Return to Me" is brought to you by MGM Productions.
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