It Could Happen To You

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Details At A Glance

Category Romance Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 2.0
Other Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - Dolby Digital City
Year Released 1994 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 97:26 minutes Other Extras Filmographies - Cast and Crew
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 4 Director Andrew Bergman

Columbia TriStar
Starring Nicolas Cage
Bridget Fonda
Rosie Perez
Wendell Pierce
Isaac Hayes
Seymour Cassel
Stanley Tucci
RRP $34.95 Music Carter Burwell

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s) 
English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    Based upon a true story, It Could Happen To You is the story of New York policeman Charlie Lang (Nicolas Cage) who is unable to pay recently bankrupt waitress Yvonne Biasi (Bridget Fonda) a tip after a cup of coffee. Being about the only decent human being left in New York (if you believe movies), he agrees to come back the next day with either double the tip or a half share in any winnings in the lottery ticket he has just bought for his very obnoxious wife Muriel (Rosie Perez). Trouble is, the lottery has jackpotted to $64 million, and the ticket is one of 16 winners - a cool $4 million. Whilst obnoxious wife starts planning on spending the money, Charlie breaks the news to her about his promise. Naturally enough this does not go down well with the wife - funny about that. But Charlie sticks to his word and makes the offer again to Yvonne - who jokingly takes the half share of any winnings, not realizing that this is the biggest tip she will ever see.

    What follows is a fairly incisive look at what generally does happen when money becomes an issue in people's lives. Sadly, but true according to my experiences with clients, most people who win big in lotteries actually end up badly scarred by the experience, as nothing is surer to cause problems then a big pile of cash. Here, obnoxious wife gets greedy, finds that the decent man she has been married to for years is not so greedy, wants all $4 million and a divorce. Charlie and Yvonne get stiffed for being decent human beings, with the happy ending coming when they are recognized for their decency by the people of New York when they have to pay Rosie the half share of the lottery winning after the obligatory court case.

    Okay, the story is a little hokey but these things do apparently happen in real life - not that I would have personal experience of winning lotto. In one of the most perfect castings ever in a film, Rosie Perez is better than perfectly cast as the obnoxious money grabbing wife: she is an actress (term used loosely) that I cannot abide and ranks right down there with Jim Carrey, and this film demonstrates absolutely why. Nicolas Cage is good as the hard working, honest, decent cop and Bridget Fonda is no less effective as the down on her luck waitress. It is a pity that this film is so close to the truth as far as the general population and money is concerned.

Transfer Quality


    It has to said that Columbia TriStar have done another good job on this transfer.

    The video transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is not especially sharp, being a little softly focused at times - presumably to enhance the romance aspect of the film. It is nonetheless a clear transfer throughout. Shadow detail is not that brilliant but is acceptable given that this is not of major importance to the film.

    Colours are nicely rendered, albeit of a generally richer tone, and quite vibrant. There is a very small hint of oversaturation on the odd occasion, unlikely to worry too many and which suits the film quite well. The capturing of the gold interior of the Trump Tower in New York is especially noteworthy, as this is extremely difficult to capture (as many failed photos attest to).

    There were no MPEG artefacts seen and there did not appear to be any video artefacts, almost as we are becoming accustomed to in these Sony mastered discs. Film artefacts were present but they were not all that prevalent and not at all distracting to the film.


    Whilst this has a full 5.1 soundtrack, it is difficult to believe it at times.

    There are three soundtracks on the DVD: the default English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded track, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track and a French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded track. I listened to the default English Dolby Digital 2.0 and English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks; all comments apply to the latter soundtrack.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times.

    There did not seem to be any audio sync problems at all with the transfer.

    The music score to the film comes from Carter Burwell, and is not especially memorable at all.

    The remastered 5.1 soundtrack is especially noteworthy for the lack of detail in the surround channels; indeed, at times it was difficult to believe that the surround channels were being used. This is not a major problem since there is little opportunity in the film for audio demonstration, and the film is primarily dialogue driven. The soundscape presented however is not too bad and suits the film well.

    The bass channel seems to have no use at all during the film.


    A not exactly inspiring collection on offer here.


    Still lacking any animation or audio enhancement, this is not 16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical trailer

Filmographies - cast and crew

 R4 vs R1

      The Region 4 release misses out on:       Again, unless you need a pan and scan version of the film, there is no overwhelming reason to choose one version over the other.


    Overall, It Could Happen To You is not the most memorable film ever made, but is quite enjoyable even with it being a little hokey at times.

    A good quality video transfer.

    A reasonable quality audio transfer.

    The collection of extras could have been a little bit more enterprising.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris
12th October 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL