It Could Happen To You Starring Nicolas Cage, Bridget Fonda and Rosie Perez. Directed by Andrew Bergman. Category I. Playing at Silvercord, Windsor. THE original working title for this unswervingly cute romantic comedy was Cop Gives Waitress Two-Million-Dollar Tip. A more intriguing title, I think you will agree, and one which lets the punters know exactly what they are getting. The bland name change was probably a marketing mistake, since this film barely rippled the surface of its domestic market, even though as a snack-sized serving of pure commercial candyfloss it was every bit as good as Andrew Bergman's last outing, Honeymoon In Vegas. That has a much better title and has done much better at the box office, but don't be put off by the obscurity of this one - if you melt to the Nora Ephron brand of old-fashioned comic romance (complete with obligatory Manhattan skylines and Sinatra on the soundtrack), it won't disappoint. Nicolas Cage, who also starred in Honeymoon, is cast once more against his usual wacky-zany-fringe-psychotic type as a straight romantic lead, a regular Joe named Charlie, who loves being a New York City policeman. Bridget Fonda, in wide-eyed sweetie mode a la Singles, is the down-at-luck waitress, Yvonne, who shares in his windfall fortune. Both are just fine, but the wonderful Rosie Perez, as ever, steals every scene she appears in with an acidly observed, perfectly sustained turn as Charlie's gloriously vulgar, money-mad wife Muriel. It Could Happen To You is worth its ticket price just for the pleasure of Perez's shrill harridan act, and whenever the film looks like turning soft on us, she's back with another sledgehammer one-liner. The premise (vaguely related to some real-life scenario, I'm told) is that Charlie regularly buys Muriel a ticket for the New York City lottery, using the same set of numbers every time, based on her birthday, wedding anniversary, etc. One fate-filled day he gets the numbers wrong and lands a winning ticket. Unaware of this, he finds himself short on a tip at the neighbourhood coffee shop, and promises Yvonne a half share of his winnings if the ticket in his wallet should come up. When it does - to the tune of US$4 million - Charlie is too honest not to pay up, Yvonne too hard up not to accept, and Muriel too hard-headed to give up two million big ones without one hell of a fight. Under the glare of city-wide attention, Charlie and Yvonne come to learn the truth of the homily 'money isn't everything', while Muriel, too, follows her heart, which tells her it most certainly is. While they find fun in giving their cash away and spreading a little happiness, she calls in the interior designers, the financial advisers and, finally, the lawyers. There are some odd touches in It Could Happen to You (Bergman specialises in quirky bits to brighten up otherwise conventional comedies, like the 'Flying Elvises' in Honeymoon In Vegas, and Brando's curious reprise of his Godfather role in The Freshman). The oddest here is the casting of elderly soul-man Isaac Hayes as a lone chorus, popping up here and there to state the obvious for no evident reason until the end. This parting shot (just a little too cute) deliberately echoes America's favourite sentimental comedy, suggesting Hayes may in fact be a guardian angel and finally explaining that awful name change: It Could Happen to You is meant to be a variation on that most over-exploited of themes, It's a Wonderful Life, a measure of just how old-fashioned a comedy it really is. All in all, it is not an unflattering imitator, even if it is unlikely to top anybody's Christmas video list, and it must be a fairly good bet to fare better here than it has at home. Hong Kong generally likes a romantic comedy, and when it is a comedy about the love of money ... who knows, we may be talking Yen Family all over again. Come to think of it, It Could Happen to You has all the right qualities for re-making as a local movie: straight-arrow Royal Hong Kong policeman wins big on the Mark Six and astounds friends and family by giving half away to the poor-but-cheerful young waif of a waitress at the local noodle shop; righteously indignant wife and aspiring tai-tai would far rather spend the loot on Chanel and turning their 500-square feet in To Kwa Wan into a temple to rococo tack ... Andy Lau, Veronica Yip and Anita Yuen in It's A Wonderful Wife! - that kind of thing. It could happen.