Matthew Perry is no Fool when it comes to Hayek
Boy meets girl, they fall in love, boy cocks up and then has to beg girl back, it's that familiar old storyline which is a staple of so many romantic comedies and forms the basis of "Fools Rush In" starring Matthew Perry and Salma Hayek. It's just one of a couple of problems which means whilst enjoyable "Fools Rush In" also ends up just another romantic comedy. That other problem is the casting of Matthew Perry as Alex Whitman, as whilst Perry is likeable and fun and also works well with Salma Hayek it's all too familiar in a Chandler Bing sort of way.
When night club construction supervisor Alex Whitman (Matthew Perry - 17 Again) has a one night stand with Isabel Fuentes (Salma Hayek - Desperado), a beautiful Mexican who works as a photographer in the Las Vegas clubs, he thinks nothing more of it. That is until three months later when Isabel turns up at his door with the revelation that she is pregnant and it's his child. After a 24 hour romance they get married in a tacky Las Vegas chapel, and settle down to wedded bliss. But with the pressure of work, impending parenthood and massive cultural differences it looks as though they may have rushed into things.
Despite the lack of any real originality in the main plot line, the storyline to "Fools Rush In" does have a certain amount of well worked charm about it. With the initial meeting between the two love interests setting up the pace for how the movie will progress, and with the majority of the humour coming from Matthew Perry, it manages to grab your attention without forcing you to overly concentrate on what is going on. In fact the humorous side of the movie is one of the reasons why it manages to remain enjoyable and entertaining despite its predictability.
Whilst the story line is predictable, "Fools Rush In" does have some brilliant scenes which are remarkably realistic as well as entertaining, one of which is the initial meeting between Alex and Isabel's rather large and close knit Mexican family, which also sets up the cultural differences element, an important part of the movies story, whilst also managing to make it humorous. There lies another reason why it manages to be entertaining, as whilst these sorts of scenarios are purposely sculptured to be humorous, they have some solid grounding which can be related to.
Although Matthew Perry is better known for his character of Chandler in the sitcom "Friends", he actually puts in a reasonably decent performance in a movie which at times feels like it has been written with him in mind or at least with the character of Chandler Bing in mind. It would be wrong for me to say that Perry is the only reason why "Fools Rush In" manages to be enjoyable, but with him providing the bulk of the humour and having the majority of the screen time, his dominance is a key factor as to why it works. Although his performance does let the movie down when it comes to the romantic, intimate scenes with Salma Hayek often appearing to be quite nervous, which I suppose is quite natural. And to be honest with Perry's character of Alex Whitman being so similar to that of Chandler Bing it does feel a little too familiar.
Despite this lack of chemistry Salma Hayek does remarkably well to bring to life a character which seems to play second fiddle for the majority of "Fools Rush In". Hayek may not be able to deliver her lines with the brilliant comic timing of Perry, but her ability to play a feisty, passionate character works exceptionally well against the more staid character of Alex Whitman.
Despite this being one of director Andy Tennant's earlier movies, he does show some early promise of things to come within the romantic comedy genre, as he went on to direct "Sweet Home Alabama" and the thoroughly enjoyable "Hitch". Although he may have been stuck with a rather predictable plot line and some rather unimaginative dialogue, he has managed to keep "Fools Rush In" moving along at a very good pace. What he has also done brilliantly is to make light of such things as the cultural differences and the pressures of Alex's job without ruining the fact that they are realistic issues which do cause relationship problems.
As well as this, he has done really well to capture the atmosphere of the main locations through some wonderful scenic shots. But more importantly a marvellous sound track, which mixes some lovely Latino tunes, such as "Mi Tierra" performed by Gloria Estefan, with the more popular tunes which are more suited to the Las Vegas sound, such as Dean Martin's "Ain't That a Kick in the Head". Plus with a title which comes from an Elvis Presley number, there are a few of his tracks which also appear.
What this all boils down to is that despite its overly predictable story line which causes "Fools Rush In" to remain distinctively average, it has a lot of innocent charm about it which makes it a rather enjoyable and entertaining movie to watch. With a reasonable mixture of adequate performances, good humour and a very good soundtrack, it may not be the greatest movie to hit the romantic-comedy genre but it is on par with the majority and does what it sets out to do.