If Lucy Fell

Director: Eric Schaeffer
Screenwriters: Eric Schaeffer

Institute History

  • 1996 Sundance Film Festival


If Lucy Fell is a romantic comedy which draws from both classic and contemporary roots to create a delightful collage that is equal parts charm and wit and is thoroughly engaging. Written and directed by Eric Schaeffer, who also costars, it puts a funny twist on an old narrative gambit and ends irresistibly.

Lucy Ackerman (Sarah Jessica Parker) is a therapist with a remarkably eccentric set of patients. She lives with her best friend, artist/painter Joe MacGonaughgill (Schaeffer), in a thoroughly platonic, but obviously close, relationship. Neither has found “the right one,” but each feels the urgency of an approaching deadline. Some years before, Lucy and Joe made a solemn pact to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge if they weren’t married by their thirtieth birthdays, and now Lucy’s thirtieth is only a month away. She has just broken up with Dick, another in a series of sexual, but vacant, relationships, while Joe is obsessed with the image of his perfect neighbor, fetchingly played by Elle Macpherson. When both decide to metaphorically take the leap and go after the one they may truly love, Lucy pursues a quirky, famous artist, Bwick, while Joe finally stops painting his fixation through the window and meets her in person! But will they find love?

If Lucy Fell is entertaining fun with terrific dialogue and solid performances, including Ben Stiller’s over-the-top, but antic, portrayal of Bwick and Macpherson’s very humanizing portrait of the idealized woman. But our hopes and expectations rest with Lucy and Joe, who are sparkling and touching as two imperfect characters seraching for love who can’t see the forest for the trees. Director Schaeffer has found his audience through his work in television. In If Lucy Fell he reveals his talent for the big screen.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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