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'Fools Rush In': 'Nuff Said

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
February 14, 1997

It could be pointed out that "Fools Rush In," a romantic comedy starring Matthew Perry and Salma Hayek, is a well-intentioned effort to bridge two cultures. After all, this is about the relationship that transpires between Alex Whitman (Matthew Perry), a corporate-minded New Yorker, and Isabel Fuentes (Salma Hayek), a passionate Mexican American.

After these perfect strangers enjoy a one-night stand in Las Vegas, Isabel disappears in the morning. She comes back three months later, pregnant with Alexís baby, and fully intending to keep the child. Flustered but responsible, Alex does the honorable thing: He weds her in a Vegas chapel, with an Elvis look-alike as a witness.

Are you getting a feel for the "goofiness" at work here?

As the newlyweds do things backward -- get pregnant, get married and then fall in love -- weíre forced to watch an insipid comedy of opposites. Alex, whoís in town to build a nightclub, believes in his career, gourmet hot dogs and people-watching. Isabel, who has deep family roots in the area, believes in destiny, frank talk and solitary canyons.

Then there are the in-laws. His parents (Jill Clayburgh and John Bennett Perry) are uptight Manhattan WASPs who like sailing and donít tan well. Her folks, led by Isabelís baseball-wielding (and of course, lovable) Dad (Tomas Milian), bring soul, togetherness and ranchero music to the dinner table. Neither side likes this shotgun-wedding affair.

Perry, who plays Chandler in the TV show "Friends," takes to these innocuous waters like a duck. Heís pure television: cuddly, bumbling, occasionally funny and completely bland. Hayek (the slinky woman in "From Dusk Till Dawn") is appropriately earthy and full of vida -- you know, "ethnic." This isnít real life. It isnít even a movie. Itís an extended sitcom. And for the first time in your life, youíll actually beg for commercials.

FOOLS RUSH IN (PG-13) ó Contains sexual situations.

© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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