Film / It Could Happen To You

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/it_could_happen_to_you_ver2.jpg

It Could Happen to You is a 1994 American romantic comedy-drama film starring Nicolas Cage and Bridget Fonda. It is the story of New York City police officer (Cage) who wins the lottery and splits his winnings with a waitress (Fonda). This basic premise was inspired by a real life incident.

Tropes seen in the film:

  • A-Cup Angst: Muriel apparently had this, as one of the things she did with her newfound wealth was get implants.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Charlie is content to be a beat cop, not even moving up to detective, while Muriel's desire for money is consistently portrayed as bad. Similarly, aside from buying the diner she once worked at (which is not made out to be bad), Yvonne is never seen indulging herself otherwise.
  • Amoral Attorney: Muriel's lawyer, who among other things, tries to make Charlie look like a wife-beater.
  • Asian Store-Owner: The deli Charlie and his partner frequent is run by a Korean husband and wife pair.
  • Big Applesauce: Encompassing the entire city.
  • Black Best Friend: Charlie's partner Bo.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The mysterious man who keeps popping up at various intervals in the story is revealed to be the movie's narrator as well as a reporter for the New York Post. It's he who has provided the paper with photos of Charlie and Yvonne at various intervals of their relationship (it backfires in revealing it to Muriel), and the final shot of them is what moves the city en masse to help them.
  • Covers Always Lie: Despite the romance that eventually develops, the shot of Charlie and Yvonne on the poster never appears in the movie.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Moved by their plight, people from all over the city send money to Charlie and Yvonne, leaving them with enough funds to pay off their debts and return to a comfortable middle-class life.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Coming quite late in the film, but when Muriel takes back the dollar Charlie gives the homeless man, it drives home how thoroughly greedy and selfish she is.
  • Fur and Loathing: Muriel buys a fur during her shopping spree and insists on wearing or carrying it wherever she goes in order to show it off, despite the fact that it's spring/summer.
  • Greasy Spoon: The diner where Yvonne works and eventually owns.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Muriel's new husband rips her off, leaving her living with her mother and working in a nail salon. Meanwhile, Yvonne's equally greedy ex can only get work as a cab driver.
    • Even earlier, not two seconds after buying a fur coat, she's splashed with paint by an animal activist.
  • Meaningful Name: The narrator/reporter is named Angel DuPree.
  • The Narrator
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Muriel's money-grubbing ways, taking back all the money from Charlie and Yvonne, results in a sympathetic city donating money to them.
  • Nice to the Waiter: And how. When he doesn't have enough money to leave Yvonne a tip, Charlie promises to return the next day with it, or to split the proceeds of the lottery ticket he just bought, should it win. When he does, he keeps his promise. He's later seen giving a homeless man some spare change, and towards the movie's end, both he and Yvonne provide the same homeless man (though they don't realize it) with some soup.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Charlie and Bo realize their local grocer is being robbed when the guy claims his wife is out sick—"That bitch would show up for work if she was dead"—and gives them their coffee for free.
  • Pretty in Mink: Muriel's shopping spree includes buying a fur.
  • Rags to Riches: More like "middle-class to. . ." for Charlie and Muriel, but definitely "rags" for Yvonne, who was filing for bankruptcy and so broke that she couldn't even afford to divorce the husband who ruined her financially.
  • Riches to Rags: Muriel ends up right back where she started, working in a beauty salon (or even worse off, considering that she at least before, she was married and living in her own apartment, but now lives with her mother) after her new husband steals all of her money and skips town.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: Muriel is a greedy, selfish, materialistic shrew, leaving not only the viewers, but the entire city of New York to fall in love with Charlie and Yvonne's love story, even though it's an emotional affair at the very least (to their credit, they don't consummate it until after Muriel kicks him out, but they're still legally married).
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: As cited in the above link, only the basic premise of the story is true.
  • Wealthy Ever After: More like "comfortable", as the donations from numerous New Yorkers enable them to pay off their debts and return to their old jobs.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/ItCouldHappenToYou