The movie starts off showing a dead body laying on a bed in a hotel room with a Tony Robbins Infomercial playing on the TV. Next we jump to a church in Boston where a wedding is about to start. Two cops have just arrived; they are investigating the murder of Steven DeCunzo. Grace Winterbourne quickly confesses to committing the crime.
At that point we hop back to beginning of story. Connie Doyle (Ricki Lake) grew up in Hoboken, New Jersey. Her mom died when she was twelve, leaving her alone with her dad. They never got along, so on the day of her eighteenth birthday she leaves home. She figures the best place for her to live is New York City.
Unfortunately for her, the first person she meets in the big city is Steve DeCunzo. He acts all charming; telling her that she is beautiful and unappreciated. She is completely conned by him and ends up moving in with him. It turns out that he is a petty thief, not an agent like he told her he was.
Things go sort of ok with Steve for awhile. He’s not the greatest guy, but at least she has a roof over her head. All that changes when she tells him that she is pregnant. She’s happy about it, however, he is about as far from happy as you can get. When she refuses to get rid of it, he throws her out.
As Connie get’s further along in her pregnancy, things go downhill even further. She loses her waitressing job, because she can no longer fit in the uniform. Her allotted time that she can stay at the Y has been used up and she has run out of money. She bumps into a homeless guy on the subway platform and he suggests a shelter that she could possibly stay at. However, instead of getting on the subway heading to where the shelter is, she accidently gets on a train heading to Boston.
Now she has another problem; she’s on a train that she doesn’t have a ticket for. She avoids the ticket taker for a while; however, he eventually catches up with her. Luckily for her there is a nice guy named Hugh (Brendan Fraser) that sees her predicament and covers for her. He says she’s his wife and holds up two tickets.
Turns out Hugh’s wife, Patricia, is equally as pregnant as Connie is. While he goes to get them drinks, the two women hang out in the couple’s compartment and talk. Patricia is just as nice as her husband. She notices that Connie is soaked from the rain so she gives her some of her clothes to change into. She also lets Connie try on her wedding ring after she has been admiring it. Shortly after Connie slips the ring on her finger is when the train wreck occurs.
You can probably see where this is heading. Both Hugh and Patricia end up dead. Connie lives, but is mistaken for Patricia (since no one in the family had ever met her before or even seen pictures). Her wearing the wedding ring (with Patricia and Hugh’s names engraved on it) on top of being pregnant (well no longer pregnant, but a new mother since she went into labor because of the wreck) make it perfectly logical for the family to assume she really is Patricia.
So Hugh’s family, the Winterbournes, bring her and the baby home to live with them. Turns out the family is loaded and live in this huge mansion. Connie tries to tell them many times that it’s all a big mistake, but everyone thinks she is just shaken up from the crash and the death of her husband. Finally, she decides to go along with it, since she has nowhere else to go.
Hugh’s mother, Grace (Shirley MacLaine), immediately accepts Patricia (who is really Connie) into the family. However, his twin brother, Bill (also played by Brendan Fraser) is skeptical. She isn’t the type of girl his brother would normally go for and she is not in the same class as them. He is very suspicious of her. He keeps trying to interrogate her, but his mother puts a stop to it. So Bill quietly goes about investigating her behind his mother’s back.
As you can imagine, many awkward moments occur when she doesn’t know things she should if she really was married to Hugh. Add to that the fact that she speaks rather bluntly, doesn’t know when to shut up and is a bit on the unsophisticated side and you can see that it’s going to be difficult for her to keep her cover story intact.
Things become even more complicated when Bill and Connie start becoming attracted to each other. On the surface it seems like they are completely different from one another and would never be interested in each other. However, after spending time together they start to see that there is more than meets the eye. Of course, this turns out to be more than a simple love story, things get complicated along the way (remember the dead body at the beginning of the movie).
This is a sweet, fun romantic comedy (even with the people dying part). The actors are great; I really couldn’t picture anyone else in the roles. I had never seen Ricki in anything before, but I was impressed with her. She was very good at playing the outspoken, but at the same time vulnerable, Connie. Shirley’s character is a strong-willed, in charge and doesn’t take no for an answer kind of person. This is the type she excels at.
It was fun to see Brendan play both of the brothers. Hugh was a sweet, fun loving, free spirited kind of guy. In contrast, Bill is a sophisticated, snobbish and very serious type of guy. Brendan was wonderful in both roles.
Some of my favorite quotes:
Homeless Man – “And here’s a shelter that’s not bad, on the West Side. I mean they pray at you, but the food’s okay.”
Connie – “Wow, thanks! I’ve had a rough couple of days. We’re not really married, are we?”
Connie – “Isn’t that supposed to be bad luck?”
Patricia – “I couldn’t have bad luck.”
Connie – “Do I remember? I was in a train wreck! Who’s gonna forget a train wreck.”
Grace – “How did I ever raise such a snob?”
Bill – “It’s a mystery, Mother.”
Grace – “My god you can be insensitive sometimes.”
Bill – “Sometimes? I must be slipping.”
Bill – “So Mother tells me that I was rude and unfriendly when we met.”
Connie – “You weren’t rude.”
Bill – “Just unfriendly then? That’s good. Gives us something to build on.”
Connie – “He was one of the only people I ever met who was kind without a reason. Not because he wanted something but just because, you know.”
Bill – “You understood him. I never did. I always thought there’d be time to figure him out.”
Connie – “It’s great to see a grown man still afraid of his mommy.”
Paco – “I taught my boys the tango … so they could woo all the women.”
Connie – “I do not understand men.”
Paco – “You and me both, honey.”
Bill – “A Cuban butler who loves you. I mean how many people can say that?”
I adored the butler, Paco (Miguel Sandoval); he really cared about the Winterbournes and was very protective of them. You could tell how much a part of the family he was. I liked how he could make Grace to do things she didn’t want to, such as, take her medicine. We also find that he was very involved in the raising of the two boys. He really was like a father figure to them, since their father was always at work.
I loved the scene when Paco gets drunk because he was dumped by the pool repair guy. Bill and Connie come to the rescue and try to comfort him. In his drunken state, he decides he wants to see them dance the tango together. They humor him and go along with it. It’s a very sweet scene and I have to say that Brendan is a wonderful, very graceful dancer.