Mickey (Crystal) goes to France to bury his father and, when the airline loses the coffin, runs into ex-pat Ellen (Winger). Eventually they marry, but when the romance cools, the couple learn to cope with their irreconcilable careers, her senile father (a great William Hickey) and their inability to have a child.
The references in Sleepless In Seattle to An Affair To Remember suggest modern Hollywood can't make a love story without dragging in its own sentimental history at the expense of real passion. Here, the film evoked by the lovers during their perfect moment is An American In Paris, though Debra Winger gets a sly laugh by suggesting that walking hand in hand with Billy Crystal along the banks of the Seinne in magical moonlight reminds her of Patton: Lust FOr Glory.
It's hard to sort out the homages from the bits just borrowed: the frame story with Joe Mantegna telling the tale of the Crystal-Winger on-off romance to his own fiancee (Cynthia Stevenson) is a steal fro War Of The Roses; Crystal's squirming within a relationship that ought to be perfect is a clear echo of his work in When Harry Met Sally; and a disastrous segment about fertility treatments plays as a mini remake of Funny About Love...
Despite the thin script, this is always entertaining. Crystal tosses off non-stop wisecracks, wringing laughs even from the groaner scenes, while a relaxed, cute and unmannered Winger has rarely been so beguiling.
Towards the end you wish they'd just get it over with, but this film usually overcomes even the most cynical viewer's resistance.