With ONLY YOU, director Norman Jewison constructs a big, breathless romance that tries desperately to capture some of the same loopy magic that made his MOONSTRUCK a smash. But despite the lovely Italian locales and a relatively appealing cast, the film is far too cloying for all but the
most sentimental tastes.
As children, Faith and her brother Larry learn from a Ouija board that Faith will someday marry a man named Damon Bradley. Twenty years later, Faith (Marisa Tomei) is still waiting for Bradley to make his appearance, and Faith's childhood friend Kate (Bonnie Hunt), now unhappily married to Larry
(Fisher Stevens), suggests that it's time to rethink her strategy. Just when she's on the verge of marrying boring podiatrist Dwayne (John Benjamin Hickey), one of his old friends calls to say that he won't be able to attend their wedding because he has to fly to Venice. His name, of course, is
Damon Bradley. Faith immediately flies to Europe with wise-cracking Kate in tow; they track Bradley from Venice to Rome, where Faith loses a shoe in a madcap chase. A handsome stranger (Robert Downey Jr.) returns the shoe and, after listening to her story, reveals that he is Damon Bradley. A
subsequent whirlwind romance comes to a dead stop, however, when he admits that he is not in fact Mr. Bradley, but Mr. Wright: Peter Wright.
Faith is ready to throw in the towel and return to the US, but then Peter discovers that Damon Bradley has been spotted down the coast. The trio takes off for Positano, where Faith finds Bradley (Billy Zane) at last. He looks like Adonis, but Faith soon discovers that he's a boor and a lout to
boot. Faith comes to her senses and begins to look more kindly on Peter; meanwhile, Larry shows up to rekindle things with Kate. But Faith soon learns that the man she thought was Bradley is really a local actor, hired by Peter to retire this Damon Bradley business once and for all. Then, after
Larry reveals that the Ouija board's prediction was a childhood prank, and that Bradley was only a kid he knew from Little League, Faith rushes to the airport and intercepts Peter in the nick of time. By chance, the real Damon Bradley appears in line: he's a pedantic slob reading a Dianetics text.
At bottom, ONLY YOU is no sillier than MOONSTRUCK, but some the earlier film's key ingredients are sorely missed here--particularly the opera conceit, which contextualized the love-crazed behavior of the protagonists, and the effervescent dialogue of John Patrick Shanley. Diane Drake's overly
schematic screenplay is loaded with forced puns and ham-handed Cinderella references, and the actors are forced to fall back on stale bits of frantic business. Without benefit of Shanley's giddy poetry, too many of the wild coincidences and fantastic turns of events seem leaden and contrived. Even
the storybook streets of Rome, exquisitely photographed by Sven Nykvist, are no help when the magic lapses.
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: PG
- Review: With ONLY YOU, director Norman Jewison constructs a big, breathless romance that tries desperately to capture some of the same loopy magic that made his MOONSTRUCK a smash. But despite the lovely Italian locales and a relatively appealing cast, the film is… (more)