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Return To Me
Written and Directed
By Bonnie Hunt
Starring David Duchovney
Minnie Driver

Minnie Driver plays Grace, a young single waitress living with her family in an ethnic Chicago neighborhood whose life hasn't really started yet. She's got major heart problems and is awaiting a transplant. Her new heart comes courtesy of an ambitious zoologist (Joely Richardson) who dies in car crash on the way home from a benefit with her devoted architect husband, Bob (David Duchovny). A year goes by and Bob and Grace meet in her family's restaurant while she's sabotaging his blind date's meal. The two can't take their eyes off each other and it's love at first sight (cue: sigh). Throw in a couple of kooky old guys, including Carol O' Conner who sounds like the Lucky Charms leprechaun, some classic Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra and bada bing, bada bang, we have a happy ending, right? Well, sort of.

Despite the corny premise of "Return To Me" I really enjoyed it. For those of you who live under a rock, "Return To Me" is the movie vehicle for Duchovny (The X-Files) who desperately wants to jump from prime time to big time. Minnie Driver seems to play the offbeat romantic interest in just about every movie she's in, but she does it well, so I forgive her. Plus, she generally sports an American accent that's better than some Americans'.

For the first 10 minutes of the movie I kept swallowing the urge to scream "Mulder, what the hell are doing here? The truth is out there, go find it!" But I contained myself and discovered a little something along the way . . .David Duchovny can act!

There's this scene in the beginning where he cries after his wife dies. We're not talking about a few manly sniffs and alligator tears; he gives himself fully over to the moment and sobs hysterically on the floor. The scene left me shaken and wondering "Hey, wait, isn't this a
comedy?"

Yes, folks, it is indeed a comedy, but clever, first time writer/director, Bonnie Hunt, (who also acts in the movie) thought, "real life isn't only about the laughs, you gotta cry some of the time, too." (Ok, so I made that up.) Still, that's the idea. When Bob and Grace, two scarred people, emotionally and physically, find each other, it's a beautiful and simple thing. With the help of Grace's posse of senior citizens the action moves along swiftly and tenderly, with just enough comic subtlety to not seem contrived.

All in all, "Return To Me" is a sweet and funny love story that takes a tired, predictable plot and weaves it into something completely new and interesting. I totally recommend this movie to anyone with a heartbeat.

--Nicole Hermatz


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