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'Only You' Is Destined to Be a Perfect Match for the Romantic at Heart

October 13, 1994|LYNN SMITH | Lynn Smith is a staff writer for the Times' Life & Style section.

In "Only You," Faith Corvatch (Marisa Tomei), a romantic schoolteacher engaged to a bourgeois podiatrist, runs off to Italy to seek Damon Bradley, a name foretold by a Ouija board to be her soul mate. Instead she encounters an impostor (Robert Downey Jr.), another romantic whose real name is . . . Mr. Wright. (Rated PG)


In the beginning of the film, Faith's friend Kate, in the midst of a marital crisis, watches Faith swoon over the lyrics "Once you have found her, never let her go" and complains that movies are responsible for creating a false and cruel illusion of romantic love. Then the film proceeds to make its own case for passion, intuition and destiny. That is, destiny helped along with some decision-making skills and Italians.

Along the way, men in general come in for a fair amount of bashing as Kate bemoans her faithless husband and Faith decries Peter Wright's false claim to be her true love, Damon Bradley.

Nevertheless, boys were among some of the comedy's biggest fans, proclaiming without apparent embarrassment that they are romantics.

But mostly, they said, they liked the humor and the plot, which had as many twists as the road from Venice to Positano.

"It was really funny," said Robbie Kelly, 11. Revealing his favorite part would give away a surprise plot point, but it concerns a wig and yet another deception that goes awry. His brother, Joey, 8, liked a scene in Italy where Faith and Kate run out of gas, leave their car and return to find it full of gas with a picture of Jesus on the windshield, unaware that a group of nuns had done the favor.

Robbie claimed to be "sort of" romantic and said he learned something about the difference in the Italian view of love and our own. In the movie, Kate meets a smooth-talking Italian, played by Joaquim de Almeida, whose calendar is filled with various rendezvous. When Kate complains to an Italian waiter about her faithless husband, the waiter praises him for at least choosing an unknown lover, rather than her best friend or sister.

Describing the Italians' attitude to romance, Robbie said, "They just say, 'Oh, come here, I love you.' They don't wait or anything." Is that better? "Could be."

Brent Hemerick, 14, admitted without hesitation that he's romantic. Guys today, he said, aren't shy about saying so--and that goes double for Italians. "I know they're more romantic," he said. "You could tell."

His biggest laugh came when Kate, thinking she and Faith have found Damon Bradley beside a pool, checks out the overweight lout in his Speedo and utters a sarcastic "Grrrrrrr" of admiration.

But while he gave the movie a perfect five stars, his sister Ashley, 10, came up with only three.

It wasn't that she found fault with the film; it was more that she's only "sort of" fond of romantic stories.

In the end, she said, "I liked how she had a destiny about Damon Bradley and she found Peter and she kept saying she didn't like him and at the end she found out she did like him, and that was her destiny."

Sort of.

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