Chances Are (1989)

Genres - Comedy, Fantasy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Fantasy, Fantasy Comedy, Romantic Comedy  |   Release Date - Mar 10, 1989 (USA)  |   Run Time - 108 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Brian J. Dillard

This bubbly update of afterlife fantasies such as Death Takes a Holiday, Carousel, and especially Heaven Can Wait finds the ideal stars in Cybill Shepherd and Robert Downey Jr. With the razor-sharp comic timing she honed on TV's Moonlighting and the wacky zeal he exhibits in basically all of his roles, Shepherd and Downey invest Chances Are with just enough tongue-in-cheek self-consciousness to sell the material to modern audiences. The screenplay, by Perry and Randy Howze, has lots of fun adding a bit of bawdy sex appeal to this traditionally prim-and-proper genre, while Dirty Dancing director Emile Ardolino keeps things moving quickly enough that the seams don't show. Forced to play it straight, Mary Stuart Masterson and Ryan O'Neal don't get to have as much fun as the leads, but a fine supporting cast -- including L.A. Law veteran Susan Ruttan and old pro Fran Ryan -- generates plenty of chuckles. A sweet fable about honoring love's memory while getting on with one's life, Chances Are didn't earn the box-office returns that its stars and director might have expected. Still, it's dated much better than many '80s comedies and remains a charming rental or cable choice.