For all you romantics out there, Fools Rush In will give you what you’re looking for. Salma Hayek plays Isabel Fuentes, and Matthew Perry plays Alex Whitman in this excellent comedy/drama/romance from 1997. Alex has come to Las Vegas for work, and one night he and Isabel have a chance meeting in a restaurant. The attraction is immediate, and they end up spending the night together.
Three months later, Isabel comes looking for Alex. He is relieved to see her, as she snuck out after their one night together without telling him where he could reach her. Isabel tells Alex that she is pregnant with his child, and will be keeping the baby. Although initially shocked, Alex decides this is what he’s always wanted, and they are married in a Las Vegas chapel, Elvis giving away the bride.
Their cultural differences create some conflict for them, but nothing is more difficult than the fact that Alex’s work is in New York City, and Isabel’s family is in Las Vegas. Their families couldn’t be more opposite. Isabel comes from a large, colorful, Hispanic Catholic family who has dinner together every Friday night, and Alex rarely even speaks to his parents.
Central to the movie is Isabel’s and Alex’s differing takes on destiny or fate. During their first conversation when they meet, Isabel tells Alex about signs, and how she believes that one’s destiny has already been decided; you just have to read the signs. Alex is skeptical of this idea. Isabel jokes about there being an explanation beyond reason, beyond all logic, that brought them both to the exact same spot that night, and later it is clear that fate brought them together. They are clearly in love and meant for each other.
The scenery in this film is extraordinary, although I admit I am partial to the soulful desert landscapes of the Southwest. I have driven over the road at Hoover Dam where Arizona and Nevada meet. The Arizona/Nevada state line that appears on the road over Hoover Dam was painted there specifically for filming. It remained there for several years, but I read that as of September 2005, it is no longer there.
Fools Rush In is rated PG-13. Ms. Hayek and Mr. Perry are wonderful in their roles, as are the actors playing their parents. Jill Clayburgh plays Alex’s mother, and Matthew Perry’s own father plays his father in the film. The film is just sweet and hopeful and will leave you with a happy feeling all over. Watch for the signs. They are everywhere.