|TIL THERE WAS YOU (1997)|
Sarah Jessica Parker
|"Love's cruel, Love's a flirt. Love has places to go and people to hurt."|
|Time: 113 mins.|
Not your typical romance, TIL THERE WAS YOU had a lot of potential, but it never becomes as interesting as it's trying to be. Gwen (Jeanne Tripplehorn) and Nick (Dylan McDermott) are destined to be together...they just need time to become the people they're going to fall in love with. The film begins with them meeting as children and ends with them telling the story of how they met to their daughter. It's too bad we actually have to watch the story instead of just listening to it, which believe me would have been much more entertaining.
The two leads in this film can be great given the right material. Tripplehorn is very underrated as comic actress. She gives one of the funniest and cruel performances ever as the other woman in SLIDING DOORS. She definitely deserves to be the leading lady. McDermott is just plain gorgeous, sensitive and utterly charming. What more do you need from a romantic leading man? If only they were used better here. The film has two very different styles I think to represent the personalities of Gwen and Nick which creates a very uneven pace and tone. Nick is dark and brooding, never satisfied with what he has, always searching for that one relationship that will make his life perfect. Gwen is an extremely clumsy wallflower waiting for Mr. Right to come sweep her off her feet.
Though it's supposed to be a romantic comedy, I found it quite disconcerting to see Trippplehorn constantly bumping into the scenery. I'm quite clumsy myself so it's not like her behavior is completely farfetched. It's just that if she had half the accidents in real life that she did in the film, she'd be in the emergency room every other day. They were trying to make her cute and quirky, but it's more annoying than endearing. For the most part, that's all the comedy there is. Neither the other situations, nor dialogue are remotely funny. Perhaps if the story didn't go to such great lengths to keep them apart, the writer could have focused on the quality of the interactions.
Both get mixed up in relationships that are completely wrong for them, while continually walking right by one another. They finally enter each other's lives because of La Fortuna, the apartment building where Gwen lives. It's the first place she's ever felt like she truly belongs and it's the building Nick's architectural firm is tearing down. In fact, he's in charge of the project. Mainly because the property belongs to his new girlfriend, Francesca (Sarah Jessica Parker), a former child star. What's wacky is that Gwen is ghost writing Francesca's life story. Oh, if only they could meet!!!
Gwen begins to write letters to the Editor to try to stop the destruction of the building. She finally finds something she wants to write about, describing the charms and value of La Fortuna as not only a landmark (it was designed by a famous local architect), but as a home. Nick is angered by these letters, not because they're hurting his career, but because they actually make him realize why he wanted to design in the first place. When they both rediscover their passions, they find each other. How sweet. It's just way too contrived for me. To make matters worse, you never get to see the payoff. You spend the whole time waiting for them to get together and then it's over. What a gip.
Coming up with new ideas on how to bring a couple together while keeping them apart can not be easy. However, the point of a romance is to make the audience feel the joy and passion of a newfound love. If the characters are never onscreen with each other, how is that supposed to happen? It goes without saying that we want them to find happiness ever after, so why make it so impossible? It's not like the ending is going to be a surprise. The twists and turns of thie story try the patience of the movie watcher. I understand the need for obstacles, but this film has way to many of them. The plot is convoluted with subplots it doesn't need. The comedic talent of Aniston and Parker is wasted. Tripplehorn and McDermott deserve better.
If you don't mind being spoon fed your romances, you might enjoy TIL THERE WAS YOU, but I doubt it. I didn't hate it, but it just wasn't worth the time. Love doesn't have to be this difficult to be good.