Chances Are is a 1989 American romantic comedy film directed by Emile Ardolino and starring Cybill Shepherd, Robert Downey Jr., Ryan O'Neal and Mary Stuart Masterson in Panavision. The original music score was composed by Maurice Jarre.[2]

Plot[edit | edit source]

Louie Jeffries, a young district attorney, is hit by a car and dies in 1964, but manages to slip by the pearly gates and is instantly reborn. In 1987, 23 years later, his widow Corinne still misses him, ignoring the frustrated devotion of his best friend Phillip Train, who has pretty much raised Louie's only daughter Miranda as his own. Miranda, while a student at Yale University, meets Alex Finch, who works in the library but is about to graduate.

After graduation, Alex heads to Washington, D.C., where he makes his way to the offices of The Washington Post. His first attempts to meet with Ben Bradlee thwarted, Alex schemes his way into Bradlee's office by pretending to be a delivery man. Alex walks into Bradlee's office, with Phillip behind him. Confounded by the young man, Bradlee asks who Alex is. When Alex attempts to remind him of their meeting at Yale, Phillip vouches for him, which changes Bradlee's mind about giving him a meeting. Unfortunately, Bradlee feels Alex needs more time working on smaller papers before he can offer him a job. Feeling defeated, Alex leaves his office. Phillip finds Alex downstairs in the lobby. Alex offers Phillip a ride, during which Phillip invites Alex to meet the Jeffries family over dinner. While at the Jeffries home, which he'd never previously been to, Alex begins to have flashbacks of a previous life. Freaked out, he begins to act crazed and confused. Putting the pieces together, Alex realizes he is Louie Jeffries, Corinne's dead husband, reincarnated.

Miranda, wanting to continue the flirtation that started when they met, is confused when Alex rebuffs her. Alex tries to convince Corrine that he's Louie. At first she doesn't believe him, but he knows things only Louie would know. She finally gives in and they kiss. They take a trip together away from town, and Corrine is a little disturbed when people think Alex is her son. Louie/Alex wants to make love, but Corrine reveals she hasn't had sex since Louie died.

One night when Louie and Corrine are together, they're caught by Phillip, who accuses Alex of being a gold digger. Louie/Alex then reminds Phillip he declared his love for Corinne to Louie on their wedding day. Phillip is confused and tries to punch Louie/Alex but Louie/Alex punches him instead, knocking him out. Corinne rushes to Phillip's side, and yells at Louie to get out of the room. Louie realizes then that she loves Phillip too.

Corrine slips a note under Louie/Alex's door, saying she's sorry, and she'll visit him later. Louie/Alex puts Phillip in his bed, so that when Corinne arrives, thinking he's Louie, she accidentally kisses Phillip. He's ecstatic, and Corinne realizes she loves him too. They make love.

Louie/Alex spends the night in his car. The next day, he bursts into a courtroom accusing a judge of accepting a bribe (Louie remembers taking a photograph of the then younger judge taking the bribe). Phillip, who's also in the courtroom, realizes only Louie would know about that fact, and now believes Alex is Louie. He tells Phillip about the location of the camera with the pictures of the judge taking a bribe. Alex falls down the stairs, hits his head, and ends up in the hospital. While unconscious, an angel visits Alex, and gives him the special "shot" he should have gotten 23 years previous, to forget his past life as Louie.

When Alex wakes, he's forgotten about being Louie, and he tells Miranda that the last thing he remembers is their kissing in the corner of the refrigerator. Newspaper headlines show the judge charged with accepting the bribe. Alex accepts a job offer as a reporter. Corinne and Phillip get married, and at their wedding, Alex tells Phillip he's in love with Miranda.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Production[edit | edit source]

File:Cybill Shepherd at Castle.jpg

Cybill Shepherd inside the "Smithsonian Castle" during the filming of Chances Are, where she plays a Smithsonian curator. She is presented with an honorary Resident Associate Program membership, by (l.) National Museum of American History (NMAH) Curator Edith Mayo and NMAH Director of External Affairs, Marilyn Lyons

The film was known prior to production as Life After Life and Unforgettable.[3]

It was Cybill Shepherd's first film in a number of years. Her profile had risen since she starred in the television series Moonlighting. She made the film during a production hiatus for Moonlighting.

Many scenes were filmed in Georgetown, along the Mall, Glen Echo Park, Smithsonian museums, and other parts of Washington, D.C.

Reception[edit | edit source]

Chances Are received generally positive reviews from critics, but did not do well at the box office. As of October 2019, the film holds a rating of 67% on Rotten Tomatoes from 30 reviews.[4]

Soundtrack[edit | edit source]

The soundtrack included the Billboard's Top 10 single hit song "After All" (composed by Tom Snow and lyrics by Dean Pitchford) performed by Cher and Peter Cetera. The song peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in May 1989 and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Another is the song of the same title as the film sung by Johnny Mathis. Although the film contains other songs, a soundtrack album has never been released.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Chances Are at Box Office Mojo
  2. Doniger, Wendy (2005), "Chapter 6: Reincarnation", The woman who pretended to be who she was: myths of self-imitation, Oxford University Press, pp. 112–136 [128–31 & 135], ISBN 0-19-516016-9 Stub
  3. Cinefile: [Home Edition] Klady, Leonard. Los Angeles Times 14 Aug 1988: 32.

External links[edit | edit source]

Template:Emile Ardolino

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