Return to Me (Bonnie Hunt, 2000)
[originally posted 10Apr2000]
Another thoroughly excellent movie. This has been a good movie year so far, or else I’ve just gotten really, really lucky with my choices. Bonnie Hunt wrote, produced, directed, and played a supporting role in this fifties movie translated with a nineties sensibility.
Bob Rueland (Kalifornia‘s David Duchovny) is a widower who meets, and immediately falls in love with, Grace Briggs (Good Will Hunting‘s Minnie Driver), his waitress while he’s on a blind date with possibly the most obnoxious woman ever to grace a film screen (played to the hilt by Holly Wortell, last seen <surprise!> in The Bonnie Hunt Show). And yes, I do remember Sandra Bernhard’s aborted (thankfully) film career when I say that.
Much of the movie’s brilliance lies solidly in the fact that it IS a plot, and a pacing, straight out of the days when Jimmy Stewart and Mickey Rooney were playing romantic leads. It won’t work if you really can’t see Duchovny and Driver dating for so many months without jumping into bed, but both of them are quite capable of pulling it off, and they do with great style. Adding to the atmosphere is a wonderful ensemble cast, with Hunt and James Belushi as Diver’s best friends, and Carroll O’Connor as her grandfather, half-owner (with Robert Loggia) of Chicago’s only Irish-Italian restaurant.
It’s wonderful. Go see it. Take female friends if you feel odd walking into a chick flick. **** ½