review for The Night We Never Met on AllMovie

The Night We Never Met (1993)
by Brian J. Dillard review

A talented cast, a zippy pace and a lighthearted comic tone can't outweigh the contrived situations and less-than-progressive outlook of this anachronistic little indie romance. Matthew Broderick and Annabella Sciorra are winsome and appealing as the romantic leads. Sam, a gourmand who can't seem to date anyone but women with serious food issues, and Ellen, a frustrated artist with a willfully suburbanite husband. The jokes about her conformist world and his colorful urban milieu are well-worn, but generally tolerable. There's not much fun to be had, however, wallowing in the loutish lifetyle of Kevin Anderson's stock-broker cad or Justine Bateman's controlling girlfriend. Christine Baranski and Doris Roberts, as usual, steal scenes in their small supporting parts. But Jeanne Tripplehorn can't salvage a thankless caricature of a role as Sam's manipulative performance-artist ex. It would be easy to pillory the film's generally regressive gender roles if they weren't so equal-opportunity; only Broderick's hapless, likable everyman escapes even relatively unscathed. The real problem, however, is the script itself, which spends so much time setting up its plot-heavy premise that it fails to tell us anything real about its characters. Capturing the style but not the substance of zany old '40s Hollywood comedies, The Night We Never Met emerges as less than the sum of its inspirations.