Making the Grades
It Could Happen To You claims to be loosely based on a true incident. In the movie, Nicolas Cage plays Charlie Lang, a soft and sensitive police officer who loves children, people, and supposedly loves his wife, Muriel. Played by the hyperactive Rosie Perez, Muriel is always screaming, usually at her husband.
One day, Charlie and his partner are in a New York coffee shop, and Charlie only has enough money to pay for his cup of coffee, and not the tip. He promises Yvonne, the waitress (Bridget Fonda), that he will share half of whatever he wins on the lottery ticket in his pocket. Of course, later that same day, Charlie and Muriel discover they are winners of four million dollars. The rest of the movie shows how money can work to pull a marriage apart, as Charlie and Yvonne fall in love, and Muriel spends her time getting more than her fair share.
Much like a laugh track in a cheap sitcom, this movie tells you off the top how it wants you to feel. Most people see this as a wonderful tale of generosity, as in the end Charlie and Yvonne are rewarded by thousands of strangers for their perseverance. But as this movie tries to promote a love for each other as fellow citizens, it does little to support the love between husband and wife. Charlie eventually (and quite quickly) commits adultery in the name of being a nice guy. Once again, the script has the audience fooled into believing that nice guys don't have to wait for a divorce if they really love "the other woman."
You may think I'm being hard on a movie that shows how people can help one another, but I get tired of men (and sometimes women) portrayed in movies where a decade of marriage is dispensed with in such a casual manner. If Charlie is so nice, next time he can wait in his own hotel room until the divorce papers are signed.