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:: Return To Me

At first glance, a movie about a man falling in love with a woman who received his dead wife's heart in a transplant operation sounds anything but funny, romantic or light-hearted, but when you leave the theatre, you'll feel, dare I say it? Heartwarmed! Under the light and comedic touch of writer/director Bonnie Hunt, this sensitive subject is given the feel-good Hollywood treatment and comes out smiling.
Agent Fox Mulder is left in the closet and David Duchovny at last proves that he is a romantic leading man to be reckoned with. In an incredibly touching scene, after returning home blood stained and shattered at the sudden death of his wife Elizabeth (Joely Richardson), Bob Rueland (David Duchovny) slumps down in tears and cries himself to sleep. Somewhere across town his wife's heart is saving the life of Grace Briggs (Minnie Driver). This is the poster movie for donor organs so far. The famous Duchovny wit and charm also surfaces as the widowed architect attempts to rebuild his life and awkwardly fall in love again - decidedly sweet and perfectly cast.
Minnie Driver, as the object of Bob's renewed affection is her usual personable and thoroughly watchable self. Her obvious intelligence always makes her a more absorbing choice as far as romantic leading ladies go and she adds a few more levels of depth to what could have been a hopelessly saccharine character.
In colourful contrast to the two well cast, but otherwise standard romantic leads are the usual assortment of quirky, well meaning friends and family. Grace's friends Megan (Bonnie Hunt) and Joe Dayton (James Belushi) bring the Dan and Roseanne flavour to the neighbourhood, whilst Bob's friend Charlie (David Alan Grier) is a strangely written character who divides his time between animals at the zoo and floosies in nightclubs. More endearing are Grace's extended family of Irish/Italian old men who run O'Reillys restaurant and offer the stereotypical, but highly entertaining grouchy old folk who play cards, argue and pretend to keep out of the path of true love.
First time director Bonnie Hunt also wrote the story and co-starred, saving quite a few of the best lines for herself. Most famously known for her role opposite Robin Williams in Jumanji, she's surrounded herself with friends and familiar faces to ease her way into the stressful world of filmmaking, and the camaraderie shines through in every scene.
You'd have to try hard not to like this film. It doesn't break any rules in the tried and true Hollywood-feel-good romantic genre, but all the characters are just so damn likeable, and despite not wanting the slightly off-putting premise to work, it does anyway.