Ha ha!

You just never know what he'll review next!

Tuesday 9 June 2020

Burl reviews If Lucy Fell! (1996)

Ha ha, Burl here with a forgotten 90s romantic comedy called If Lucy Fell! First, though, a confession: I haven’t seen this picture since before its original release, when I saw it at a special free sneak preview, and this review is taken largely from the notice I wrote for a local publication at that time! It's hard to believe I saw this while ignoring actual decent New York pictures like The Daytrippers - ha ha, what a crazy decade the 90s was!
I remember quite a bit about that If Lucy Fell screening, however, even if the movie itself has entirely disappeared from the cultural consciousness! I recall that the girl sitting in front of me had the worst cough in the world! She sounded like she was dying, quite frankly! Halfway through the movie she went off to the bathroom, returning ten minutes later to report to her friends that she had barfed her guts out! Then she coughed some more; but not once, apparently, did she consider simply leaving to go home and lie down! Thus was the power If Lucy Fell held over this poor soul! Ha ha!
But I did not share this powerful thrall! I thought If Lucy Fell was a garden-variety romantic comedy with a few amusing moments but many more unlikely situations and shouting matches! Striving for Woody Allen-style New York erudition, the picture is instead relentlessly anti-intellectual, more Annie Wilkes than Annie Hall!
Eric Schaeffer, also the writer and director of the movie, plays an artist called (if I’m spelling this right) Joe MacGonaughgill, who lives with his best and most platonic friend, a therapist named Lucy Ackerman played by Sarah Jessica Parker from Footloose! She’s dating Ben Stiller from Next of Kin, here playing a guy named Dick or Rick or Bwick, but is unsatisfied with this; Joe, meanwhile, spies on his pretty neighbor Elle MacPherson, but hasn’t made sweet love  to anyone but his pillow in five long years! So neither of them are very pleased with their romantic lives, and the big, scoff-worthy hook in the movie is their mutual vow to jump hand-in-hand off the Brooklyn Bridge if nothing changes within thirty days!
Ha ha! Would I be breaking a confidence if I told you this was all a preamble to Joe and Lucy realizing that their true loves were each other? I don’t think so - it’s a conclusion a blind moleman with a head concussion could see coming! Maybe if we even once got the impression they really might leap to their deaths, we might care whether or not they discovered happiness! Or maybe we’d just continue to think of them as spoiled, smug fauxhemians with no real problems who take things much too hard!
For all its talk of love, what If Lucy Fell lacks is a real sense of romance! Schaeffer’s screenplay is much too concerned with making the characters hip, likeable and witty, which they are only in the briefest and most infrequent of flashes! The picture is too forcibly cute to be good, too obvious to be involving, and too facile to be truly romantic! For all that, it was still better than another so-called romantic comedy that I saw around the same time, called Beautiful Girls! That one was a double stinker, rated pee-yoooo! Ha ha, I give If Lucy Fell one Bwick short of a load!


  1. Here's a tale: when I first got the Internet I went on Usenet, posted a lot of blather like a lot of people, but every so often there would be one issue everyone could get behind, and for a few weeks in 1999 it was this poster called orson locke.

    He was this guy with ideas above his station about his critical faculties, well, we've all been there at one point, but in between weirdly racist takes on I Still Know What You Did Last Summer or how brilliant Patch Adams was, he championed If Lucy Fell and told all and sundry on the movie newsgroups that Eric Schaeffer was a genius. Some people thought he WAS Eric Schaeffer. Everyone apart from him who had seen it thought If Lucy Fell was dreadful!

    I don't know what happened to Mr Schaeffer, nor how he got SJP and Elle in his movie, but maybe he'd be happy he had one diehard fan. There doesn't look to be much of this debacle left on Google Groups, but believe me, what a time it was to be alive.

    1. He sounds like a real treasure! I still recall long ago when I discovered a bunch of user reviews on the IMDb from a guy named Mike, and these were such strange and idiosyncratic notices that I read and copied all of them, discovering along the way that Mike was from my own city! Anyway, your account of Orson reminds me of him!

    2. Intriguing! Do you have a link to that user on IMDB or has he been deleted? I notice some of the more eccentric (i.e. entertaining) user reviews get purged, while one-line "worst movie ever" reviews are all over the site.

    3. I don't think they're there any more! I collected and printed them all up though, so I have a document! There must be a couple of hundred one- or two-paragraph reviews, with a very strange flavour of, shall we say, illiterate earnestness! I've just opened to one random one here, and it's a review of You Only Live Twice in which he praises Donald Pleasance for his portrayal of "Bolfield!"

  2. Oh yeah, and Beautiful Girls was absolute dreck, weird how it was briefly beloved when it was an excuse for the director to perv over an underage Natalie Portman. Yeuch. The oh-so-unselfconscious piano singalong is the worst ever!

    1. Ha ha, I recently found a stack of old reviews from my paid reviewing days, and Beautiful Girls was among them! I'll never watch the movie again, so I'll probably post that old review as I have with If Lucy Fell! The Natalie Portman pervation is certainly one of my critiques!