Return to Me

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Bob Rueland (David Duchovny) couldn’t have been happier in his life, it all seemed to be going his way at the time. He had a beautiful wife and was having so much fun with her, he never imagined what things would be like without her. He was a simple man, but his life was so perfect, until she left. In a tragic twist of fate, his wife is killed in an automobile accident and Bob’s life is thrown off track. At the same time of his depression, a family is rejoiced to hear the news that Grace Briggs (Minnie Driver) will be getting the heart transplant she needs. The heart will soon ensure that Grace remains alive, but who was the donor? Bob’s wife was the one whose heart made it possible, but he has no idea who was the transplant receiver. Bob refuses to date again for a while, but soon he breaks down and agrees to go out on a blind date. This changes his life forever, as he falls in love that evening, but not with his date. He falls for the chatty waitress, Grace and though the two have fun and get along well, will the secret of the transplant break them apart?

In the realm of romantic comedies, I tend to prefer the movies that focus on the comedy side on that equation. I don’t mind some romance mixed in of course, but I like to see a lot of laughs involved also. Return To Me leans more toward the romantic side to be sure, sometimes a little too much, but I still think it turns out to be fun & enjoyable motion picture. Now I admit that the storyline is out there, but in the world of romantic comedies, belief must be suspended in all cases. The genre thrives on coincidences and as such, this stretch of the imagination can be overlooked. Aside from that little twist, this turns out to be a very realistic & natural film for the most part, especially the family side of the coin. The cast is loaded from top to bottom, but leads David Duchovny and Minnie Driver steal the show in the end. I do think the film needs a few more instances of humor however, as the lovey dovey angles get kind of bothersome after a while. But this one is never too sappy, though it does push the limits on a couple occasions. If you want a fresh & effective romantic comedy, then look no further than Return To Me.

I was surprised to learn that Return To Me was directed by Bonnie Hunt, who also helped write the story & screenplay for the film. I’ve always liked her work in front of the camera, so I was eager to discover if her skills would translate well into the director’s chair. This is a good genre for a debut director, as there is little mistakes to be made, but Hunt ends up playing it a little too safe. The film has a rather plain visual style and while visuals don’t kill the movie, I think they could have been used more to enhance the film’s overall impact. As a writer she also keeps things on the safe side, but that has little impact on the movie, since this is a light romantic comedy. If nothing else, Hunt’s debut is a solid one, even if it does reflect a rather plain approach. Hunt (Jumanji, Jerry Maguire) also appears in the film’s supporting cast, along with James Belushi (Mr. Destiny, Made Men), Robert Loggia (American Virgin, Independence Day), Joely Richardson (The Patriot), and Carol O’Connor (Law & Disorder). The real stars however are the leads, David Duchovny (Tv’s The X-Files, Kalifornia) and Minnie Driver (Circle Of Friends, Grosse Pointe Blank), who shine in their roles here. I thought their individual performances were terrific, but their combined chemistry is what makes this movie work so well.

Video: How does it look?

Return To Me is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is a sparkling visual presentation and try as I might, I could find very little wrong with it. The black levels look sharp and well balanced, blacks are deep & rich, while white seem bright & bold. This ensures a nice balance of contrast for the colors, which emerge here in vibrant form and free from all smears & bleeds. This is also a very smooth overall transfer, with minimal print debris and no signs of compression problems I could detect. MGM can do excellent work when they want to and thankfully, they chose to do this one right.

Audio: How does it sound?

You wouldn’t expect much from a romantic comedy in terms of audio and this proves to be no exception to that assumption. I do think the music sounds very good in this mix, but no other elements seem to touch the surround channels. But then again, this film uses a massive amount of dialogue and little else, so there’s no real call for frequent surround use. The dialogue is what counts here and in this case, it sounds clean and shows no real issues at all. The vocals are crisp and consistent, with no volume problems to spoil the good time. This disc also contains a Spanish stereo surround track, English captions, and French & Spanish subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc isn’t a full blown special edition, but it does have a few goodies fans can check out. You can watch a music video or even check out a deleted sequence from the film, or you can give the included audio commentary track a spin. This one features director/cowriter Bonnie Hunt and cowriter Don Lake, who share their thoughts on the film, as well as some stories about the production. Not the most informative track I’ve heard, but more than worth a listen for fans of the flick.

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