'Til There Was You

1997, Movie, PG-13, 114 mins

Review

'TIL THERE WAS YOU
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A romantic comedy in which the destined-for-each-other lovers cross paths without actually meeting until the very end. Gwen and Nick first bump into each other in grade school, but life repeatedly separates them. Pampered romantic Gwen (Jean Tripplehorn) grows up to ghostwrite the autobiography of former child star Francesca Lansfield (Sarah Jessica Parker) while waiting for Mr. Right, whom she thinks might be ambitious city councilman Jon (Craig Bierko). Commitment-shy Nick (Dylan McDermott) becomes a trendy, successful architect, still obsessively licking the wounds of a childhood marred by poverty and alcoholism; he's dating Francesca. They're all connected by the portentously named La Fortuna, a charming old courtyard complex slated for demolition: Gwen lives there, Francesca sold it to developers, Nick is designing the condominiums that will replace it and Jon's on the committee that might be able to stop the wrecking ball. So many things about this unhurried romantic comedy sound refreshing and wonderful, including the intricately intertwined plot strands, the twists of fate that keep Gwen and Nick apart and the mix of cynicism and hope the leads bring to their search for life-altering romance. But graceless star Tripplehorn -- who's called upon to execute a painful series of pratfalls in a high-tech restaurant -- is not a natural comedian, and overall the movie is awkward and leaden. Rather than waiting with breathless anticipation for Nick and Gwen to find their joint destiny, you pray for them to meet so it will all be over. You can't help but long for the candy-colored freneticism of WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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