A memorable romantic comedy that stands to bring back the genre's good name, "It Had to Be You" is as funny, endearing and enjoyably off-kilter as its adorable star, Cristin Milioti.
Writer-director Sasha Gordon was inspired by her own fear of wedlock to tell this sweetly featherweight story of Sonia (Milioti), a neurotic commercial jingle composer who unravels when she discovers her kind, uncomplicated boyfriend, Chris (Dan Soder), is about to propose marriage.
The tale's destination may be inevitable, but how Sonia and Chris get there makes for a swift, bubbly look at love, dreams, commitment, priorities and how we often stand in the way of our own happiness.
Evoking such rom-com standard bearers as "Annie Hall" and "When Harry Met Sally," plus taking a kind of satiric swipe at "Eat, Pray, Love," the film finds its own unique groove largely thanks to Gordon's creation of the haplessly lovable Sonia.
That Milioti proves such a hand-in-glove fit for her vividly drawn part and keeps us squarely on Sonia's side even when the character makes some terrible, if credible, choices, is perhaps the movie's greatest gift.
A strong supporting cast including Soder, Halley Feiffer, Mark Gessner, Kate Simses, Erica Sweany, Danny Deferrari and Rachel York; nice Manhattan and Rome locales and several lovely uses of the title song, round out this goodhearted journey.
'It Had to Be You.'
MPAA rating: R for some sexual content and language.
Running time: 1 hour, 20 minutes.
Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica