It Could Happen to You Review

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A police officer promises to share his lottery ticket with a waitress in lieu of a tip.


Released in the week the national lottery is launched in this country, this takes as its starting point the true story of a New York policeman who gave a waitress half his state lottery ticket in lieu of a tip and thus split a multi-million dollar win. In real life, the cop has been married to the same woman for 35 years, while the waitress’ affections also lay elsewhere. But since this wouldn’t make such an interesting movie, the premise has been spun out into a whimsical, romantic, Capraesque fable of charity versus greed, kindness versus cynicism and exploitation.
Cage is Charlie, a good, decent, ordinary Boy Scout in blue, inexplicably hitched to avaricious, vulgar nag Murial (Perez). Lacking change in a coffee shop one day he promises to return with half his lottery ticket for weary, down-on-her-luck waitress Yvonne (Fonda). Despite winning big, he can’t bring himself to short-change the unknowing Yvonne who proves her niceness by helping diners who have AIDS.
Inevitably the wife goes ballistic, and turns conniving in between spending sprees and redecorating their humble abode in the worst possible taste. And just as inevitably, the do-gooding duo are clearly meant for each other from the word go, skipping around town, treating deprived tykes, raggedy tramps and such like.
The result never comes close to being hilarious, merely cute in the corniest way. That it is more of a pleasure than it deserves, is down to the light, bright leads. Cage and Fonda are both charming, though he’s particularly endearing in his uncharacteristic but welcome turn as a soft-hearted, irresistable darling. The slightness is a disappointment, but the concoction is still very sweet indeed

An enjoyable piece of escapism