Return To Me
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted October 29, 2000
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Graphical Version
The Movie:

"Return to Me" is the directorial debut of star Bonnie Hunt("Jumanji"), and for the most part, she succeeds in constructing an enjoyable "old-school" romantic comedy/drama with two stars that are good together, but somewhat mis-matched. David Duchovny plays Bob Rueland, who just lost his wife in an accident. Grace (Minnie Driver) is ill, and recieves his wife's heart in a transplant. Meanwhile, Grace's relatives, played by Caroll O'Connor and others, provide a chorus of background chatter.

At this point, the problem is that I've already finished, for the most part, the discussion of what happens. Obviously, as with most romantic films, we know that these two people will eventually meet - everything else is like being in the film equivalent of a waiting room. I've said it before and I'll say it again - whether or not a film like this one is successful revolves around whether or not we care about these two people and their actions.

In this case, half of the pairing works. Driver begins to show some of the energy and life that she showed in roles like "Good Will Hunting" and even more in "Grosse Pointe Blank", but doesn't quite match up to the talent she showed in either of those roles. Duchovny is...well, Duchovny. He was and still is perfect in the role of Mulder in the "X-Files", but here, his most energetic attempt at comedy is providing his usual "Mulder"-ish amused half-smile that lets us know that he's in on the joke. The two make for a passable pairing with so-so chemistry.

"Return to Me" is one of those films that passes along nicely, but leaves little impression. It just goes along on its own little way, sometimes getting a bit slow in the middle, but picking up again towards the end. I will say that the film's rather unbelievable central plot of these two meetings is handled well, and I went along with it. That's pretty much how I felt about the entire movie - I just sort of "went along with it". I could have used a few more laughs to perk up the proceedings. Overall it's a workable film, with flaws and bumps, but for those looking for a mildly enjoyable romantic rental, "Return To Me" might be a decent choice. As a side note, I'm suprised with the language that this grabbed a PG.


VIDEO: MGM proves that they can continue their recent streak of providing titles that, in terms of image quality, are firmly rooted in "average" status. Sharpness is fairly good, although occasionally some scenes looked somewhat soft to me. Detail proves to be pleasing, and clarity is enjoyable, as well.

There are some problems that take away from the presentation; there are more print flaws than I'd like to see from a movie that's only a couple of months out of theaters. These appear in the form of slight marks and speckles along with a scratch or two. Slight pixelation comes up in a couple of scenes, and light shimmer is visible now and then, as well.

Colors do look great, though - pleasantly natural and rich, looking well-saturated and without any problems. Some of the outdoor sequences at the zoo or in other places look very nicely defined and smooth; it's just some of the indoor scenes that didn't seem quite as solid overall. This isn't a bad presentation, but MGM is capable of doing better; the studio has said that they are looking at improving their overall efforts soon - I hope that this is definitely the case.

SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is most certainly based heavily in the front. There are a couple of instances where the music sounds very good coming from all sides, but when the music stops, this becomes a completely dialogue-driven presentation with not much in the way of any additional touches. Dialogue manages to be clear and clean, and also the focus of the film.

MENUS:: One thing that MGM does a fine job of recently is menus - the animated main menu is a nicely done intro to the movie.


Commentary: This is a commentary by director/actor Bonnie Hunt and co-writer Don Lake. Lake doesn't comment very often, but Hunt brings her brand of warmth and humor to the track, commenting on what it was like to work with the actors and direct them. She also shares some memories and stories from the set, commenting on the fun that she had shooting in her hometown of Chicago. There are definitely some funny moments in the commentary, but there are also a few pauses in the track with silence between the two. So-so, but maybe worth a listen for those who really like the movie and want to find out more. Some of the funniest comments are during the end credits.

Also: A deleted scene and music video. The trailer is nowhere to be found.

Final Thoughts: A pretty easy summary - "Return To Me"'s DVD pairing of film and presentation would probably work best as a "rental".

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