A likable but forgettable bit of fluff about mistaken identity, THE NIGHT WE NEVER MET involves three strangers who rent a desirable Manhattan apartment on a time-share basis. After a comedy of errors filled with misunderstandings and mistaken conclusions, two of them fall in love.
The apartment in question is the Greenwich Village pied-a-terre of Brian (Kevin Anderson) a loutish broker. He's about to marry yuppy princess Janet (Justine Bateman), but holds onto his rent-controlled bachelor pad so he can watch football with the guys and pick up the occasional babe. He's
still got a fraternity house mentality, and leaves the flat looking like one--littered with leftover pizza and beer bottles.
Since he doesn't need the apartment full time, Brian has his secretary (Louise Lasser) rent it out on alternate days to Sam (Matthew Broderick) and Ellen (Annabella Sciorra). Sam, who's heartbroken over having broken up with his pretentious French performance artist girlfriend (Jeanne
Tripplehorn), can't afford his own place but needs occasional respite from the chaotic apartment he shares with multiple roomates. Ellen is a Queens dental hygienist, married to an overbearing suburban dry cleaner (Michael Mantell) and in need of a room of her own in which to paint. The
complicated goings-on are watched by a pair of nosy neighbors (Doris Roberts and Dominic Chianese) who are predictably enthralled by the soap opera that ensues.
None of the roommates has met the others, but they draw conclusions from clues left in the apartment. Brian switches days with Sam and, uderstandably but erroneously, Ellen concludes that Sam is an inconsiderate slob, while Brian is the man of her dreams: a neat, tasteful romantic who builds
window boxes for her plants and leaves her gourmet snacks and notes admiring her paintings. Ellen fantasizes about her unseen admirer, and with encouragement and help from her adventurous sister (Christine Baranski), she returns to the apartment on her fantasy-lover's night, dreaming of sweet
seduction. Her encounter with the boorish Brian is a shattering disappointment, and created further complications. Finally, Brian succumbs to Janet's pressure to give up the apartment, and Sam and Ellen finally meet.
The idea of revolving roomates is a good one, and THE NIGHT WE NEVER MET is hardly the first film to use it. But the execution leaves much to be desired. The cast is perfectly adequate, but first-time director Warren Leight's handling of the sitcom script is predictable, and viewers figure out
the end long before the film gets there. Perhaps the best things about the production are the changing decor, as each of the occupants puts his or her indelible imprint on the away-from-home hideaway, and the fact that the Big Apple is as romanticized as the relationships, shown without violence
or squalor. (Sexual situations.)
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- Released: 1993
- Rating: R
- Review: A likable but forgettable bit of fluff about mistaken identity, THE NIGHT WE NEVER MET involves three strangers who rent a desirable Manhattan apartment on a time-share basis. After a comedy of errors filled with misunderstandings and mistaken conclusions,… (more)