The Hollywood Reporter
March 6, 1996
by David Hunter
A fresh and engaging romance set in New York City, writer-director-lead actor Eric Schaeffer’s "If Lucy Fell" pleasantly mixes classic Hollywood comedy with 1990's variations on the old themes of friendship and finding true love.
Playing a cynical, intelligent woman who is impatient to find a suitable mate, the loose and likable Sarah Jessica Parker headlines the TriStar release which should pull in good crowds in major markets and continue as a prime date-night attraction on video.
Following up his well-regarded debut, "My Life's in Turnaround," Schaeffer shows he's a fast-rising talent, delivering a sharp sassy script, stealing many scenes with his manic-but-lovable bachelor character and smoothly handling the directing chores.
With her 30th birthday looming and having painlessly broken up with her latest boyfriend, Lucy (Parker) reminds roommate Joe (Schaeffer) of a "death pact" they made years earlier as friends in college: If by the time they turned 30 they hadn't found love, they'd jump off the Brooklyn Bridge.
To motivate herself and perhaps get Joe to finally make contact with the attractive neighbor Jane (Elle Macpherson), who he's been surreptitiously painting and lusting after for years, Lucy reinstates the deadline, which they mark on a calendar painted on the wall of their cozy apartment.
Experienced viewers will know right away where the scenario is headed, but there's much fun and wackiness in the journey. Lucy’s foray into the dating arena entails a hilarious-in-the-retelling date with a handsome loser (Robert John Burke) and then a major fling with barely articulate artist Bwick (Ben Stiller), whose nutty style of painting provides a hilarious interlude of physical comedy.
Joe, meanwhile, gets up the courage to meet his dream girl. After winning her with his fawning but sincere charm, they seem on the way to something special. But his earnest search for a meaningful relationship puts him on a different wavelength than man-crazy Jane, who has no such hopes.
Stiller is a hoot in his limited role and Macpherson connects as the object of beauty, but the film belongs to Parker and Schaeffer. The latter is energetic and aggressive in a way reminiscent of Tom Arnold, but he has a Woody Allen-Albert Brooks vulnerability that makes his sex-abstaining lonely heart a wonderfully off-kilter character.
Shot on location in the Big Apple with no embellishments, "If Lucy Fell" boasts fine production values, including Ron Fortunato's naturalistic cinematography. Ginger Tougas' modern metro production design and Ane Crabtree's bathrobes-to-sweatshirt costumes.
Whimsical and crowd-pleasing, the film boasts several effective songs written by Charlton Pettus and Amanda Kravat, who is lead singer of Mary Me Jane, the new group featured on the perky soundtrack.