If Only is a romantic drama, which too often goes for the cheapest emotional reaction out of its viewers, without incorporating logic or common sense into such decisions. Jennifer Love-Hewitt and Paul Nicholls star as a couple of young lovers, who represent the prototypical female and male, with very little surprises in their characterizations. In the beginning, we see Nicholls is a bit invested in his work, and, while adoring his singer-songwriter girlfriend, he instinctively keeps her and the rest of the wor…d at arm’s length. This distancing is due to a somber childhood, which involved a relationship with his alcoholic father that was filled with both admiration and disappointment. His father was his hero, but is now the case study Nicholls’ character uses for how NOT to live his life… due to the alcohol, of course. But as a result, Nicholls’ character tends to run from love, when it’s staring him in the face (and I mean that both figuratively and literally). Then, something huge happens that forces him to approach life from another perspective… his girlfriend dies in a car accident. The accident makes him realize just how much she meant to him… but it all comes too late.
Or does it?
That’s right… much like the far superior Frequency, he is given a second chance the next day to do it all over again, and, hopefully, get it right. At first, he can’t believe his luck, but then he realizes that all the things, which happened in his “dream,” are happening over again. This leads him to believe the tragedy will reoccur, and so he decides he will do everything in his power to stop that from happening. So, he becomes the man she wants instead of the one that drove her into the ill-fated taxi cab, which took her life the first time around. Unbelievable lapses in judgment accompany heavy-handed dialogue, which practically begs its audience for tears, to produce a sort of light romantic version of Final Destination, where you know something bad is about to happen – you just don’t know how or why. The only difference, as far as that goes, between this and the successful horror franchise: here, the tragedy doesn’t make sense – none whatsoever. Give this film a look, and you’ll see what I’m talking about – unless you’re too blinded by Love’s beauty to see the blemishes of her choice in projects. (NOTE: Great seeing Love going back to those Kids, Incorporated roots with her performances peppered into act three of this otherwise tired, uninspired movie.)
Watched this Sony outing on a different, newer player, than I’m used to, cross-referenced it with my Sony DVD player, and still found one glitch near the end of the film in an outside scene involving taxi cabs, where the film sort of hesitates, and then jumps. It’s a small moment, and nothing worth getting a refund over, but it’s still there. Other than that, the 1.33:1 full-frame is a clear transfer with rich colors, deep blacks, and authentic flesh tones. No grain or edge enhancement either – overall, a solid performance from this disc.
The true strong point of the disc is its 5.1 track, which is quite booming and dynamic for a quaint made-for-TV romantic drama. The bass certainly does its part, throttling walls and doling out headaches, while dialogue, though a little weak, comes through clearly enough to prevent seesawing up and down on the volume controls. The soundtrack, led by Ms. Love-Hewitt’s pleasant vocals, is lightweight stuff, but much better than anything you’ll hear the travesty that is Ashlee Simpson regurgitate on your radio – how that one’s music career has been more fruitful than Love’s, I’ll never know.
Only previews for other more popular Sony titles (such as 13 Going on 30) are available in the bonus department.
While this film lacks in logic and common sense, I’m sure it’s weepy enough for the average female viewer – or any of you men out there in touch with your softer side. Special features are literally non-existent, so unless you’re a fan of either Love or a good, solid audiovisual presentation, there isn’t much to recommend here, beyond the movie itself… and if you’re like me, you just can’t do it.
Special Features List
- Previews for other Sony titles