Return to Me

Bomb Rating: 

Think about what a more interesting film this would be if Bob's dead wife's heart had been transplanted into some smelly, fat guy named Larry.

It's hard to fathom the odds involved in marrying one babe (Joely Richardson) only to have her get hit by a car, then having her heart transplanted into another babe, Grace (Minnie Driver), of exactly the same age, with whom you then fall in love. Hey, it may sound kooky, but that's exactly what happens to Bob Rueland (David Duchovny).

It's easy to recognize what's wrong with "Return to Me." First, it's too long. Second, far too much time is devoted to the tangential characters. Lo and behold, the film is directed by Bonnie Hunt, herself a lifelong actor of tangential characters. Hunt spends tons of screen time lingering on Grace's grandparents (Carroll O'Connor, Robert Loggia) who run a restaurant, as well as herself and fictional husband James Belushi. There's also plenty o' film devoted to Bob's friend, Charlie (David Alan Grier). And did I care about any of them? No.

This all leaves surprisingly little time for Bob and Grace, not that more would have helped. I don't know if David Duchovny is trying to be the next Robert Stack, but he's off to a good start. He has about as much personality as a telephone pole. As for the overall tone of the film, this relationship takes place one year after the accident and transplant, which seemed like too little time for Bob to be thinking about marrying another woman and for Grace to be flitting across town on her bicycle like Lance Armstrong.

Think about what a more interesting film this would be if Bob's dead wife's heart had been transplanted into some smelly, fat guy named Larry. In fact, given that the first wife worked in a zoo with gorillas, it would have been so much more interesting if they had stuck the gorilla's heart in Minnie and, for some reason, Duchovny got mad and called her a hairy ape and she cried and then later he found out why and felt really bad. Then again, maybe I'm being too hard on these filmmakers. Good ideas are hard to come by.

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