If Lucy Fell (1996, directed by Eric Schaeffer)

Lucy (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Joe (Eric Schaeffer) are two platonic best friends and roommates.  They have a pact.  If they don’t find true love by the time Lucy turns 30, they’ll hold hands while jumping off of the Brooklyn Bridge.  Now, Lucy’s 30th birthday is rapidly approaching and Lucy still hasn’t found the right man!  Meanwhile, Joe is obsessed with Jane (Elle MacPherson) but he hasn’t had sex in five years!  It looks like Lucy and Joe are going to have to commit suicide.  They made a pact, after all and single New Yorkers don’t break pacts.  Fortunately, things start to look up when Joe finally talks to Jane and Lucy meets a weirdo artist named Bwick (Ben Stiller).  Or could Lucy and Joe are actually meant to be together?

If Lucy Fell was briefly a big deal in 1996 because it featured both supermodel Elle MacPherson and Ben Stiller.  (It’s easy to forget how popular Ben Stiller was in the mid-90s.)  Once the film came out, people discovered that it was actually about the bland characters played by Sarah Jessica Parker and Eric Schaeffer and the film bombed at the box office.  Though it may be forgotten today, If Lucy Fell is still the epitome of the type of independent romantic comedy that a lot of directors made in the 90s.  Take a plot line that probably wouldn’t have made it beyond the table read if it was an episode of Friends (it’s interesting to note that both MacPherson and Stiller later made guest appearances on that sitcom), toss in some “alternative” music, and beg someone with a well-known name to take a supporting role.  The film is also interesting as an example of how a generally unappealing actor can play the lead in a romantic comedy and get to make out with both Elle MacPherson and Sarah Jessica Parker.  Just write and direct the film and then cast yourself in the lead role.  Congratulations to Eric Schaeffer for figuring it all out.

I’ve been feeling nostalgic for the 90s.  I guess everyone eventually feels nostalgic for the decade in which they grew up.  But nostalgia can be a harsh taskmaster and it’s important to remember that not all 90s independent films were Pulp Fiction and Fargo.  Quite a few of them were If Lucy Fell.  Ben Stiller has some funny moments, though they’re so cartoonish that they seem like they belong in a different film.  Elle MacPherson is beautiful, even if her character never makes sense.  Sarah Jessica Parker seems like she deserves better than everything the film offered to her.  Eric Schaeffer is dull but at least he got along with the director.  12 year-old Scarlett Johansson has a small role.  If Lucy Fell was a film that could only have been made in 1996 and it was forgotten by 1997.