Dating is only funny when it happens to someone else!
I wasn't holding out much hope for a film whose theatrical trailer and packaging both misrepresent various characters. One would think the marketing department might care to fact check before going to press. Then again, this is probably just one reason why very few people have ever seen this film. Surprisingly though, I'm with Lucy is inventively sweet and would make for an enjoyable date movie.
Facts of the Case
To say Lucy (Monica Potter, Along Came a Spider) is unlucky in love would be an understatement. I know very few people who have ever been dumped by a significant other in a crowded elevator, while expounding on their sexual dissatisfaction as the primary cause for the breakup. Welcome to Lucy's world. Flash-forward and we find Lucy fully recovered and about to be married. But how did she get here? Flashback to five separate and distinct blind dates with very unique men—the recently divorced entomologist (John Hannah, The Mummy), the former major league baseball player (Anthony LaPaglia, The Guys), the overtly sexual foreign writer (Gael Garcia Bernal, Y Tu Mama Tambien), the uptight computer store manager (Henry Thomas, Gangs of New York), and the ultra-suave orthopedic surgeon (David Boreanaz, Angel). As we ride the merry-go-round sampling Lucy's various encounters we try to guess which one turned out to be the man of her dreams. Care to place a friendly wager?
Premiering in August 2002 as part of France's Deauville Festival of American Cinema, I'm With Lucy made its domestic debut in November at the AFI Film Festival and quickly disappeared, generating a mere $15 million at the box office. One wonders, with such a star laden cast, how the film so quickly made its way to home video?
First time screenwriter Eric Pomerance has come up with a creative storytelling device—cycle the audience through a woman's various dalliances with different men bearing witness to her personal growth. I have to admit, the first 10 minutes of the film may have been what killed it with studios, critics, and audiences. Second time director Jon Sherman (Breathing Room) takes too long to set things up. Most people would have lost interest by the time we get to Lucy's blind dates, which is where the enjoyment begins. Up to that point, it's a bad episode of Sex in the City. Enter the saving grace, John Hannah, who sets the tone and puts the rest of the film in motion. We quickly realize Lucy is more than just unlucky with men…she's downright disastrous. But it's not just her fault. Lucy's friends have managed to set her up with quite a collection of guys. On the surface, each appears to be completely wrong for her but later prove to be strong contenders for the relationship prize. Give credit to Sherman for pulling it together and weaving an engaging, not-so-predictable romantic comedy.
From a performance standpoint, Monica Potter is a natural for this genre. Her gentle sweetness and charm is evident in each and every frame. In addition, Potter's comedic timing is impeccable. Unfortunately, she has been cursed by a cruel twist of fate—one cannot help but look at her and see Julia Roberts. They share very similar physical features, mannerisms, and vocal expressions. It also doesn't help that Roberts has defined the genre for a generation. What does help push past the similarities is Potter's supporting cast. John Hannah, Henry Thomas, and Anthony LaPaglia all exhibit their impressive range of character and trademark professionalism. David Boreanaz and Gael Garcia Bernal are less impressive, although both have had limited exposure outside the roles that made them famous. The scene stealing moments arrive in the form of Lucy's parents, played somewhat improvisationally by Harold Ramis (Ghostbusters) and Julie Christie (Doctor Zhivago). Robert Klein (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) also makes a brief cameo appearance as Boreanaz' medical mentor.
The film's 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer is crisp and clean, with almost of hint of that art house, independent look. The colors of New York and Miami are vibrant, with the select few night shots underscored by solid blacks. The Dolby 5.0 soundtrack is functional but not exceptional, utilizing the main three speakers. It's an understandably dialogue heavy film, but does benefit from an exceptional soundtrack comprised of many lesser known artists. No bonus features to speak of, aside from the film's long and unimpressive original theatrical trailer which introduces David Boreanaz' character as a physical therapist. Entertaining in an embarrassing sort of way.
Without giving anything away, I would recommend I'm With Lucy as a rental. A good date movie that women will enjoy and men will not be bored by. What more could you ask for?
Innovative concept. A little sloppy on the execution. Enjoyable performances. This court finds I'm With Lucy not guilty—a delightful surprise within a less than impressive package. Case dismissed.
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Scales of Justice
• Original Theatrical Trailer
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