No need to rush

I think by now I am starting to get an idea of Matthew Perry's career strategy. Pair him up against a beautiful actress for a light romantic comedy. Repeat. And repeat. See Three to Tango (opposite Neve Campbell), The Whole Nine Yards (Natasha Henstridge), and Serving Sara (Elizabeth Hurley). Fools Rush In was the first of this string of movies, the first to capitalize on the success of the ensemble sitcom Friends, and arguably the most honest of them all.

Perry plays Alex Whitman, whose chosen occupation has something to do with opening restaurants - or are they more properly clubs? - of a trendy upscale chain. While working on the latest outlet in Las Vegas, he encounters lovely Selma Hayek in line outside a bathroom. Her character is photographer Isabel Fuentes, and they end up having what they both end up claiming is the unusual occurance of a one-night stand. She flees before he wakes the next morning, and that seems to be that.

Except the movie can't possibly end there, and three months later Isabel shows up at Alex's house, pregnant and trying to do the proper thing by letting him know the child is his. Alex becomes a typical stumbling sitcom character from the shock, but manages to be cute enough that Isabel asks one favor of him - come to dinner with her family once, so that later on, she can put forth a familiar face to her family as to who the father is. White bread Alex experiences some pleasant culture shock in the Mexican Fuentes home, and by the end of the evening, he declares he has fallen in love with Isabel. She, being of a superstitious nature, thinks all this may be happening for a purpose. So of course, they go get married that night - hence the film's title.

Such a rash decision has consequences, and these two go through the predictable adjustments, and conflict, that comes from such things. It's all in the name of comedy, however, but not without some insightful moments. Alex, from more of a repressed background, has a hard time being honest about his problems, and Isabel discovers their value systems are quite different. For a light comedy, these issues are followed through fairly well, but it left me wanting. The ending is typically smooth, the sort of thing a sitcom would do with a sufficient budget.

Perry seems to play a fairly narrow range, and it's easy to believe Alex isn't far from Matthew himself, some kind of goofy suburban everyman. Likewise, Hayek cuts an easily accessible figure in Isabel, someone just a little wild, just different enough from Alex that the audience can see the train wreck coming, but also believe they can get together in the end (which doesn't surprise anyone).

Of Perry's films (or at least, the ones I've seen), this is the one that comes the closest to saying something. While the core of the film is the very true nature of relationships, the film doesn't do much to distinguish itself. It's funny in places, but that doesn't cut it when the film is clearly aiming directly at comedy. Altogether, the result is like a lukewarm bath - pleasant enough, but in a way that could leave you napping.

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