Film Scouts Reviews

"'Til There Was You"

by Leslie Rigoulot

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Timing is everything in the movie business and Paramount must be hoping that the romantics will be looking for something besides dinosaurs this week. In that case, "Til There Was You" will be a hit. This is a fluffy, delightful romantic comedy in the same vein as "Sleepless in Seattle." Dylan McDermott plays a practical architect with a penchant for lying about his past, while Jeanne Tripplehorn is the owner of an apartment complex he wants to tear down. They are not exactly made for each other, although there are plenty of near-misses as their mutual friends meet and their paths almost cross. It is as though fate is waiting for them to grow up before introducing them to each other. So Sarah Jessica Parker keeps McDermott busy in the romance department until the time is right.

McDermott is the kind of man who makes ladies' hearts beat a little faster, but he has always had trouble finding the role that is going to put him over the top. "Home for the Holidays" and "Miracle on 34th Street" did little to enhance his romantic-leading-man image. "In the Line of Fire" and "Cowboy Way" paid the bills but didn't help his career. Currently he stars on ABC's lawyer drama "The Practice", which may garner him the following he deserves. While his performance in "Til There Was You" is solid, it isn't going to put him in the winner's circle yet. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to keep watching this gorgeous guy.

On the other hand, this role does show a side of Jeanne Tripplehorn that enhances her marketability. Known mostly for looking great in "Waterworld" and "The Firm", she gets a chance to fight it out with a restaurant, The Awful Truth. It is one of those hi-tech places with odd angles of aluminum and steel, the sort of place no one can feel truly comfortable in. Tripplehorn swears she'll never return to it, but keeps coming back for more punishment. Of course, it is McDermott's character who designed the place that she can't abide.

If the film has a familiar feel to it, look to the director Scott Winant, who acknowledges the Frank Capra influence. This is his feature directorial debut, but he earned producing raves with his TV ground-breakers "thirtysomething" and "My So-Called Life". Winant and writer Winnie Holzman have grasped the big difference between TV and movies: TV is about characters who remain the same while movies are about change. As McDermott and Tripplehorn grow, they become the people they need to be. That is what makes "Til There Was You" work. Rated PG-13 Paramount

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