Retro Review: Return to Me

Can David Duchovny overcome the type-cast of Agent Fox Mulder? This is a wonderful beginning.

MGM’s “Return to Me” stars David Duchovny and Minnie Driver in a light-hearted comedy that is tender and romantic. The center of the plot to this film is a “heart”.

Sure we have the blooming hearts of our main leads but we also have the magic of a real beating heart. You see these star-crossed lovers have a connection to this heart. Driver needs the beating heart to heal her from a heart defect and Duchovny’s wife is the donor after she is tragically killed in an auto accident.

Return to Me” is one of those romantic comedies that suffer a lot from the cliché of the formula but as we watch we really just don’t care. What makes this film a notch or two higher than the average comedy is its beautiful honesty and tender characters.

Minnie Driver has a lot to do with why this film is so successful in this aspiration. Like her film credits behind her, Minnie has nailed the “insecure girl next door” image down to a science. And it’s that science that makes “Return to Me” so passionate and gentle. Building off that strong of a center you have a beautiful set of characters around her that accent her inner magic.

As the film opened, I was worried about the “stiff” acting of David Duchovny and wondered if he had what it takes to be a romantic lead. In some ways I found myself surprised by his talent. One scene that really grabbed me was when he fell down in front of the front door. Overwhelmed with tears, he stretches out for his dog which loved his wife as much as he.

These scenes with the dog brought out a side of Duchovny which was wonderful, passionate and honest. They brought out a depth Duchovny really has never touched on. There were a lot of stiff scenes Duchovny seemed to be lost in but from just seeing those dog scenes I think in time Duchovny may open up.

Some of my favorite’s moments in the film are in the brilliant chemistry of the four patriarchs who look out for Minnie. Carroll O’Connor and Robert Loggia are two of Minnie’s guardians. Its great to see these veteran actors doing something so light hearted. This is a group we won’t soon forget because they were hiliarious.

Other stand-outs were Bonnie Hunt and James Belushi who had a lot of great lines and chemistry. The “family” scenes were warm and fuzzy and made you smile a lot. Bonnie Hunt also directed and co-wrote this film and in these tender funny scenes you could see her magic touch. Way to go, Bonnie.

Even though Duchovny’s wife, played by Joely Richardson, wasn’t in the film very long I have to mention her. This actress is one of the ones who is always great but is never the lead. Come on casting agents give Joely a chance.

So go grab your wife or your girlfriend and see this perfect date movie. Guys, you’ll get lots of points taking her to this.

(3.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer

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