Retro Film Review: Fools Rush In

Retro Film Review: Fools Rush In

[Continuing my posting of film reviews I wrote for my student newspaper, this one from 31 October 1997. I was happy to be reviewing this – I like romantic comedies, and I think Salma Hayek is rather sexy (shh, don’t tell my girlfriend) – and the review got prime position on top of the page, with a photo of Hayek to accompany it, possibly because Friends was riding high at the time. The funny thing is that, on the same page, is a review for a film I would have much preferred to see: LA Confidential, which is one of my favourite films of all time, and the other reviewer wasn’t excessively impressed. I bet the film review editor regrets his decision to place Fools Rush In above LA Confidential …]

For a romantic comedy to stick out from the crowd these days, it must be either incredibly romantic or extremely funny. Unfortunately, Fools Rush In is neither. It stars Matthew Perry (Chandler from Friends to everyone in the entire universe except unicellular organisms from Saturn) as Alex, a pragmatic corporate type from New York, who meets, and beds, Isabel (Salma Hayek). Isabel escapes in the night to avoid the morning after, only to discover that she is pregnant. She turns up three months later to tell Alex the news, whereupon they fall in love and are married by an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas. And then the film really gets started.

Running against type for a romantic comedy (two ill-suited people hate each other, are thrown together by all manner of ridiculous coincidences, and finally fall miraculously in love in the last ten minutes) by having the two ill-suited people fall in love at the the start, there is the hope that we are seeing something different. This is, unfortunately, not to be. The incidents that are supposed to cause conflict seem weak and contrived, never making us doubt that they are going to live happily ever after. Perry plays Alex as a watered-down Chandler, but still manages to get most of the funny lines. Salma Hayek effortlessly plays herself as the feisty Mexican whose belief in destiny fuels the conflicts. However, these otherwise very likeable leads do not provide the necessary sparks and with a denouement that can be deduced from the fact that Isabel is pregnant at the start of the film, this is another film to be filed under ‘could do better’.

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