August 01, 1994 12:00 PM

Nicolas Cage, Rosie Perez, Bridget Fonda

It Could Happen to You, a breezy comedy with little more on its mind than proving that some people are fated for each other and isn’t it swell when they finally hook up, wants to be this summer’s Sleepless in Seattle, set in New York City. It’s cute enough but fails to deliver on the wiggy promise of its early scenes.

This urban fairy tale, with its echoes of old Capra and Sturges pictures, is about a good-guy cop (Cage) who, finding himself unable to pay the tip one day, promises a sweet but harassed waitress (Fonda) that if his lottery ticket hits, he will split the proceeds with her. It does and he does, much to the consternation of his money-worshipping hairdresser wife (Perez). Cage and Fonda spend their winnings taking underprivileged kids to Yankee Stadium and feeding the homeless, while Perez spends hers on cosmetic surgery and mink coats. The two do-gooders, of course, soon realize they belong together, while Perez is fit only for Trump Tower.

All of this, under the direction of Andrew Bergman, plays brightly enough, but the movie runs out of comic oomph before it’s over. Cage, showcased by Bergman previously in Honeymoon in Vegas, again proves that he has become an appealingly loopy leading man. There’s nothing subtle, as usual, about Perez as she flashes her manicure and screeches her lines, but that doesn’t keep her from stealing scenes. Fonda is the disappointment, never achieving a magical effervescence in her syrupy part. (PG)”

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