If Lucy Fell

1996, R, 93 min. Directed by Eric Schaeffer. Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Eric Schaeffer, Ben Stiller, Elle Macpherson, James Rebhorn, Robert John Burke, David Thornton.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., March 8, 1996

Reality Bites redux. Well, not really, but it is hard to not draw comparisons when all the big laughs come every time Ben Stiller's onscreen. Parker is Lucy, a psychologist who shares a New York City loft apartment with platonic painter/children's teacher Joe (Schaeffer). Lucy's 30th birthday is drawing near -- one month, to be exact -- and the anniversary recalls a childhood pact the two made: If neither of them had found a serious lover with “definite familial possibilities” by age 30, they end it all together atop the Brooklyn Bridge. Childhood pacts usually don't survive the tests of time, but this one does, and before they even fully realize it, they're off, chasing down what might be their one final dream. Joe, for his part, finally makes contact with beautiful neighbor Jane (Macpherson, quite charming here), a woman he's been surreptitiously watching (and painting) for the last five years. Lucy, on the other hand, hooks up with a flaky, new-age artist with the unlikely moniker Bwick Elias (Stiller). As Death Pact Day rapidly approaches, the two rush screaming into the arms of love with little else on their minds. The odd subplots -- their mutual goal of opening some sort of pre-school, Lucy's chilly relationship with her father -- crop up from time to time, but Schaeffer mostly keeps his focus on Joe and Lucy's fractured love lives. I don't really think I'm giving anything away here by saying that it's obvious these two roomies belong with each other; that much is telegraphed almost from scene one. What's interesting is writer/director/star Schaeffer's glum outlook. Nothing seems to go right for the two. Comedic touches aside (nearly all of which belong to Ben Stiller who's off on another, far more interesting, planet as the genuinely goofy Bwick), If Lucy Fell strives hard to be a serious romantic comedy for the Nineties. It almost succeeds. Schaeffer trips up, though, when he lets his philosophies get the better of him. Nothing stops If Lucy Fell faster than its mordant underpinnings, cute though they may be. It's “The Best Date Movie of the Nineties,” number 224 in a series. Collect 'em all.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Sarah Jessica Parker Films
Escape From Planet Earth
In this 3-D animated movie, a famous astronaut from another planet becomes trapped on Earth – aka the Dark Planet. Interplanetary shenanigans ensue.

Louis Black, Feb. 22, 2013

New Year's Eve
Did you see Garry Marshall's last all-star movie Valentine's Day? This is the same silly claptrap, just a different holiday.

Kimberley Jones, Dec. 9, 2011

More by Marc Savlov
Moving stoner drama finds the downside of going legit

Oct. 15, 2021

Fantastic Fest Review: <i>Barbarians</i>
Fantastic Fest Review: Barbarians
English dinner party drama goes straight to darkest hell

Oct. 5, 2021


If Lucy Fell, Eric Schaeffer, Sarah Jessica Parker, Eric Schaeffer, Ben Stiller, Elle Macpherson, James Rebhorn, Robert John Burke, David Thornton

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle