10 Things I Hate About You director Gil Junger gives us Hewitt at her most typical: She's an American violin student in London on the eve of her big graduation concert. She's living with a British boyfriend (Paul Nicholls), and they seem to be on the downswing. Sure enough, that night he forgets about the concert, they have a big fight, and she ends up dead in a car accident. WTF? That's right, 30 minutes in and J. Love is dead.
Stop and rewind. Boyfriend wakes up the next morning to find that all is well, Love is alive, and he's repeating the previous day. After a good amount of Groundhog Day-like behavior, he realizes this is a sign or an omen of some kind and tries to change the future for the better. He really loves his American gal after all, and of course he doesn't want her to die, so he goes to insane lengths to prevent it from happening. Will their romance be healed? And will Love meet her maker as she did before? Well, not before we make room for some singing from Love, who's apparently been training for the wrong musical career all these years.
The big problem here is that If Only is too maudlin and depressing to make for a good romantic drama and it's way too sappy to work as a drama/thriller. We hang on to the "will she die?" thread so strongly that we don't really notice the hurdles that Nicholls is jumping in order to change the romance side of the relationship. Add to that the fact that Nicholls' character is basically a tool -- forgetting the concert she's worked three years toward? come on! -- and you'll probably be wondering why Hewitt didn't head back to the States years ago.
Run time: 92 mins
In Theaters: Thursday 15th July 2004
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
IMDB: 7.2 / 10
Director: Gil Junger
Screenwriter: Christina Welsh