It Could Happen to You

1994

It Could Happen to You

Critics Consensus

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71%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 34

54%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 47,806
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Movie Info

Loosely based on a true story, this uneven romantic comedy depicts the unexpected way in which a winning lottery ticket unites a pair of strangers. Waitress Yvonne (Bridget Fonda) first meets police officer Charlie (Nicolas Cage) when he eats in her restaurant. Realizing that he doesn't have enough money to give her a tip, Charlie promises Yvonne to split any winnings from the lottery ticket he just bought. The skeptical Yvonne dismisses Charlie as just another cheapskate until he wins four million dollars and, much to Yvonne's surprise, decides to honor the agreement. His action becomes front page news and wins public acclaim, but it doesn't go over nearly so well with Charlie's wife Muriel (Rosie Perez), who has her own plans for the money. Muriel's shallow, greedy behavior disgusts Charlie, who finds himself spending more and more time with Yvonne, developing a friendship that threatens to blossom into something more. Jane Anderson's screenplay stresses the relationship between Charlie and Yvonne's characters over the situation's comic potential; this earnest tone will please romance fans but may disappoint viewers expecting the farcical comedy of writer/director Andrew Bergman's and Cage's previous effort, Honeymoon in Vegas.

Cast

Nicolas Cage
as Charlie Lang
Bridget Fonda
as Yvonne Biasi
Rosie Perez
as Muriel Lang
Wendell Pierce
as Bo Williams
J.E. Freeman
as Sal Bontempo
Red Buttons
as Walter Zakuto
Richard Jenkins
as C. Vernon Hale
Ginny Yang
as Mrs. Sun
Angel David
as Esteban
Anna Lobell
as Korean Deli Customer
Merwin Goldsmith
as Bankruptcy Judge
Vincent Pastore
as Bowling Team Member #1
George J. Manos
as Loto Official
Frank Pellegrino
as Water's Edge Maitre d'
John Louis Fischer
as Plaza Bellhop
Mina Bern
as Muriel's Neighbour
Feiga Martinez
as Jesus' Mom
John Norman Thomas
as Mr Muktananda
Ann Dowd
as Carol
Alan Muraoka
as Television Reporter
Felipe Luciano
as Television Reporter
View All

Critic Reviews for It Could Happen to You

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (10)

  • Bergman...really brings home the homage to Capra with the pic's warm, bordering-on-irresistible finale.

    Sep 18, 2008

    Brian Lowry

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Perez has a field day as Muriel, injecting a welcome note of good old-fashioned greed into what is otherwise a relentlessly edifying story.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Sweetness is fine as far as it goes, but this oddball romance could have used a twist of lemon.

    May 12, 2001
  • The nastiness in the movie feels derived from life, while all the niceness feels canned -- imported from old Jimmy Stewart pictures.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • Bergman never goes for heavy-handed schmaltz, and the whole movie has the same lighthearted big city spirit as the New York Post headlines that follow the story.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Simply and without pandering or insults to your intelligence, the movie delivers more of the old-style pleasures of moviegoing than any other picture in a long while.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for It Could Happen to You

  • Jul 21, 2012
    It Could Happen to You is a delightful romantic comedy that's inspirational and heartwarming. In this New York fairytale, a beat cop promises half of his potential lotto winnings in lieu of a tip; but when he wins, the money brings about a strange and whimsical journey of ups and downs. Nicolas Cage and Bridget Fonda are charming together and deliver wonderful performances. Rosie Perez however, is as annoying as all get-out. The film does get a bit formulaic at times, and there are issues with the pacing. Yet whatever flaws It Could Happen to You has, it's a lot of fun.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 18, 2012
    As cliche as any other romantic comedy movies goes, It Could Happen to You is by far one of my favorite. Forget the realism (although the movie storyline was in fact based on real life case) but we need our own version and this movie provides it. The chemistry between Nicholas Cage and Bridget Fonda is undeniable, I always liked the old Nic Cage in the 90's. Never watch any of Bridget Fonda's movie before this and who knows she is lovely! Check it out if you like simple loving 90's rom-com! 7.7/10.
    Mesh B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 25, 2011
    Charlie Lang (Nicholas Cage) is an honest hard working cop who has modest ambitions and enjoys his life in his local neighbourhood in Queens. When he buys coffee at a local diner he feels bad because he hasn't got enough to leave a tip for the waitress Yvonne (Bridget Fonda) and instead promises to split a lottery ticket if it wins. <a href="http://tinypic.com?ref=1yoefq" target="_blank"><img src="http://i52.tinypic.com/1yoefq.jpg" border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic"></a> The unbelievable happens and it wins for millions. A man of his word, he splits the prize money and this sets off his money hungry witch of a wife played perfectly by Rosie Perez. The presence of the exaggerated irritating Perez really helps - even if you don't like her you will still have to admit that her greedy character does well to take some of the syrup out of the film and make it a little more enjoyable. <a href="http://tinypic.com?ref=11i0d4h" target="_blank"><img src="http://i54.tinypic.com/11i0d4h.jpg" border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic"></a>
    Deb S Super Reviewer
  • Jul 30, 2010
    I'm not a Nicholas Cage fan. At all. But in this film he has his act together. He and Bridget Fonda have wonderful chemistry and together create this charming, lovely romance film. Yeah, it's a bit tacky and unrealistic at times, but it's just too pleasant and supremely watchable that it's very hard to dislike it.
    Jay H Super Reviewer

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