There are movies sent directly to video each week. Most of these titles deserve their fate, but there are occasionally efforts that go unnoticed due to simply not containing enough star power or maybe too many similar films have been released recently. In the case of "It Had To Be You", it's a little of both. The low-budget film stars Michael Vartan ("Alias") as Charlie Hudson, a writer who is about to get married. Hudson has a meet-cute with Anna (Natasha Henstridge of "Species" fame) when she falls asleep in the bathtub at her hotel and nearly floods Hudson's room.
The two are getting married to other people, but it's one of those movies where they keep bumping into each other and start thinking that they may be a better couple than their current significant others. "It Had To Be You" is one of those movies that succeeds dispite itself. There's really nothing new to the plot, which seems restricted to only a handful of locations due to the budget. The performances of the leads aren't particularly great (although Henstridge remains unexpectedly sweet and charming), but they both have decent chemistry with one another.
Oddly enough, the low-budget appearance works for the film, which has a bit of a rough-around-the-edges charm. The film's sweet tone also adds nicely - this is one of those films that wants to be liked and remains too light and fluffy to hate. The dialogue - while occasionally cringe-worthy (Henstridge's teacher keeps reciting unusual facts) - is usually well-written and occasionally even quite funny.
VIDEO: "It Had To Be You" is presented by Lion's Gate in 1.85:1 non-anamorphic widescreen. For a non-anamorphic release (and combined with the fact that the film looks like it was either shot in 16mm or on some low-budget 35mm stock), this is a fairly decent transfer. Sharpness and detail are usually pleasant, aside from some dimly-lit scenes that appear muddy, but not totally undefined.
Aside from occasional issues with sharpness, there are a few other (if relatively minor) flaws to be found. The print appeared to be in excellent shape throughout most of the movie, although some light grain and the occasional speck were spotted. A few light instances of artifacts were seen, but no edge enhancement or other faults were spotted.
The film's color palette seems unusually flat and lifeless - especially given the city scenery. Although this could have been intentional or a result of the film stock, the film doesn't look as good as it seems it should. Overall, still a fairly nice transfer.
SOUND: The 2.0 soundtrack is a little less successful. Dialogue seems low in volume and not balanced 100% with the music. Still, turning up the volume a little higher than normal made the listening experience enjoyable.
MENUS: Basic, non-animated main & sub-menus.
Final Thoughts: Those looking around the video store for a decent romantic comedy to rent may want to check out "It Had To Be You". While not as good as some of its bigger-budget ("Serendipity") counterparts, the film still has its charms.