Fools Rush In

Fools Rush In by Andy Tennant offers us mildly engaging characters and
an even more mildly witty screenplay but cannot escape the clichés of its
plot—which, when you boil it down, is nothing more than the old
work-family conflict. All this romance—and there is a potential romance
here of some charm—only so that yet another sensitive 90s man can learn
not to put the demands of work ahead of what he owes to the wife. Bah! Humbug!
Moreover, the job that so obsesses its New York WASP hero, Alex Whitman (Matthew
Perry), is traveling all over the world to build night clubs. And for this
he’s going to let Salma Hayek sit home
with the dog? Maybe it would make sense if he were saving the world, or advising
presidents and potentates, or, Grisham-like, rescuing some poor black guy from
the electric chair. But here, we can’t
help thinking, is a guy who is simply not old enough to marry.

Another false note is that Miss
Hayek’s character, Isabella Fuentes,
although she makes her living taking pictures of drunken cowboys in the gambling
dens of Las Vegas, aspires to be an art photographer, whose great ambition is to
make a collection of photographs of the desert.
I’m sorry. I
don’t believe it. She has too
obviously spent her life in front of cameras, not behind them. But even if she
looked more like a real photographer, this little artistic touch would be
gratuitous. It would make a better story if she were a cocktail waitress, or a
maid. We don’t want her to be merely a
yuppie manqué, inexplicably set down in the Nevadan desert with a loud
and boisterous Mexican family.

Isabella meets Alex in line for the lavatory at a restaurant in Vegas. She
tells him of her belief in fate and signs and other superstitious portents,
“an explanation beyond reason and
logic that brought you to this very spot at the same time I came to this

“Why would fate go to all that
trouble?” asks Alex.

“To save me from having to wait a
lifetime,” she says.

Well, invitations do not come much handsomer than that, so the next thing we
know they are sharing a bed in Alex’s
sparsely furnished Las Vegas house. But—and here comes a third false
note—Isabella is quietly collecting her things and slipping away in the
early hours of the morning, apparently without any intention of returning. This
does not make sense, given all that talk about fate to start with and the thrill
of the experience that they both remember when they do meet again. One
can’t help thinking that she only goes
so that they can meet cute a second time.

Well, not meet cute exactly. She finds that she is pregnant, that he is the
father, and she decides that he ought to know, though she wants nothing from
him. But he pursues her, meets and is impressed by her family (he is amazed that
they see each other even when it’s not
a national holiday), and impulsively decides to marry her. His life, he tells
her, made sense up until that morning, though he
couldn’t decide what sandwich to have
for lunch (a cheeseburger or a tuna melt—that Seinfeld touch). Now, he
says, “I know exactly what I want and
my life doesn’t make any sense. You
are everything I never knew I always
wanted.” They proceed to get hitched
in a Vegas wedding chapel with an Elvis impersonator as witness.

What follows is a mostly failed attempt to exploit the ethnic differences,
the tensions and misunderstandings between her family and his, which must
finally fall back on the tried and true, as Isabella leaves the selfish oaf who
pays more attention to his job than to her and he has to—. Well, you know
what he has to do. The best joke in the picture comes when Alex goes shooting
with Isabella’s brothers and her
ex-fiancé and finds himself sitting in a cactus. Tequila is administered
orally for the pain and, as he is brought home, carried face down by the
in-laws, we here him say in a slurred, Ricky Ricardo accent:
“Lucy, you got a lot of
splainin’ to
do.” They really should have stopped
the thing right there instead of making us hang on through the tedious but
inexorable working out of the romantic clichés.

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