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Return to Me

Is it just me? Shouldn't a romantic comedy be funny?


Bob Rueland (David Duchovny) is deeply in love with his wife. The two spend their days being madly in love and dancing to really old songs until an out-of-control driver turns her into a hood ornament. For Grace Briggs (Minnie

Driver), the fatal accident is a blessing, as the dead wife's heart will go on -- replacing Grace's weak ticker. As fortune would have it, Bob and Grace eventually meet and are immediately attracted to each other (hmmm, I wonder why). The only things keeping them from finding true love are irritating friends, relatives, a tragic secret and Grace's clashing patterned separates. The premise seems reasonable enough, but the film lacks the clever banter and the all-important sexual-tension climax of romantic comedy classics such as "When Harry Met Sally" and "Moonstruck." Instead, it just mopes around and occasionally stoops to clichéd gags (such as Minnie's encounter with a hair transplant recipient and David's pushy blind date).


It's too bad that an actor as intense as Duchovny is burdened with a character as dull as his K-Mart wardrobe. The truth might be out there, but good film roles clearly aren't. Driver manages to rise above her cumbersome surroundings and occasionally offers the audience a chuckle and a briefly moving moment. Sadly, the film squanders the talents of its older cast members (including Carroll O'Connor and Robert Loggia) with dreary arguments over the merits of ancient baseball players and deciding who is really the Rat Pack's consummate crooner. (And why is O' Connor talking like the Lucky Charms leprechaun?)


Director and co-star Bonnie Hunt (who also co-wrote the story and screenplay) is a funny lady with a brilliantly dry wit. Unfortunately, she must have sent her sense of humor to the dry cleaner's while making this film. What we're left with is a been-there comedy that sleepwalks through a tired formula.

Bottom Line

Date movie for the painfully dull.