What every good romantic comedy demands are two beautiful people, usually of opposite sexes, beautiful scenery, beautiful music, and beautifully written situations. Never mind that director Norman Jewison's previous hit comedy, "Moonstruck", didn't quite fit the mold. "Only You" does. The beautiful people are Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey, Jr. The beautiful scenery includes Venice, Rome, and the Italian wine country. The beautiful music embraces pop, jazz, and grand opera. And the beautifully written situations are almost all anticipated but believable.
"Only You" is one of the most charming films to come along since, well, since "Moonstruck." On DVD it is beautiful just to look at.
Actually, the film probably owes more to 1953's "Roman Holiday" with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck than to "Moonstruck", most especially in its characters and locales. In fact, there is even a brief homage to "Roman Holiday" during a location shot in Rome. The plot involves Ms. Tomei as a starry-eyed young school teacher who is about to be married but really yearns for another man, a man of her dreams, foretold to her years earlier by an Ouija board. That man may or may not be Robert Downey, Jr., whom she meets in Italy after flying away on an impulse just days before her marriage. Girl meets boy; girl gets boy; boy loses girl; boy pursues girl; girl and boy finally end up happy, but with whom? It is all as weightless as a feather, and, like its characters, as delightful as one could imagine.
The scenery alone is worth the price of the DVD. The gorgeous photography and the crystal clarity of the images make widescreen viewing a must. Who can resist the sight of a red Ferrari wending along a roadway high above the Italian coast? The surround sound, which includes the music of Louis Armstrong, Puccini, and Verdi, sets an unobtrusive tone rather than hammering the viewer with multiple effects. The dialogue, although not particularly scintillating or clever, is smart and appropriate for the circumstances.
Finally, the situations are everything one expects of light comedy--right out of storybook fantasy, but with nothing forced, silly, or embarrassing.
The DVD picture quality is, as I suggested above, excellent, especially in widescreen. However, for those so inclined, Columbia TriStar have also included a full-screen version on the flip side of the disc. I can't imagine why.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 is good, even if it doesn't have a lot to do. It reproduces a good sense of musical ambiance and conveys dialogue clearly. What more could you ask?
Unfortunately, there are no other features on the disc to speak of except twenty-eight scene selections and a theatrical trailer. Spoken languages are English, French, and Spanish as are the subtitles.
Maybe "Only You" is not the perfect vehicle for showing off a new DVD player's capabilities in a home theater. It doesn't have the fiery car crashes, spectacular explosions, or deafening sonic booms that so impress the newcomer. It's just an enchanting film that pleases the eye and the ear, without insulting the intelligence. For the romantic in all of us, I highly recommend it.