It could happen to You

You should be so lucky. It's not every day you win the lottery. Much less having someone who owes you a tip for a cup of coffee giving \$ 2 million. What a wonderful world. It's a wonderful life. Even Jimmy Stewart would say so. Yes, it's a New York fairy tale and Nicolas Cage is gonna make it all come true.

Isaac Hayes is our narrating Angel for this fateful tale of Charlie Lang (Cage), the cop with a heart of gold (and a pocketful of bouillon) with a wife (Rosie Perez) who's a witch in disguise (no wonder, considering she works at the local beauty parlor in Woodside, Queens). A clumsy, awkward, near-sighted and beautiful waitress from a TriBeCa chow joint (Bridget Fonda), who has recently been declared bankrupt by the court, thickens the plot.

The good cop espies how unhappy this damsel is and, in lieu of a missing tip, offers her half his lottery ticket if he should win the pot at the end of the rainbow. Isn't the suspense tense? Of course he wins. Now, the wife is not too happy, either about the hash slinger's heavy portion or her husband's philanthropic nature, until she is made aware of the hype she can reap for her own benefit. Faster than she can scratch the rollers out of her hair, she's on her way to fame, fortune, and the tackiest decor she can purchase for her home. Need I say more? A romantic comedy with a message that shows us all how we should be an ideal world. As Charlie Lang, the cop who laid the golden egg, says, "A promise is a promise."

The first part of the film is great fun and nicely paced, almost to the point of becoming reminiscent of Lubitsch, but, once the love interest develops between the cop and the waitress, things tend to slow down. Towards the end, however, things pick up once again when wicked Rosie takes her revenge and the lost children of the concrete jungle must find their own way home.

Of course, director Andrew Bergman is no stranger to comedy, having written such films as Blazing Saddles, Fletch, and Honeymoon in Vegas (the last which he also directed with Cage in the starring role). This may not quite match up to the other three on the whole, but it certainly has its moments.

It will also give you fellow New Yorkers the chance to play "spot the location" as you travel with this threesome through the streets of the city. There's Central Park, Woodside, Yankee Stadium, and South Side Pier. Perhaps you all had a bit of trouble recognizing the coffee shop where Yvonne (Fonda) works? I don't think I've ever eaten there before. No surprise, it was built from scratch on a parking lot for the production.

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett