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A lot can happen while you’re sleeping
If you’re sleeping hard,
And if you’re not expecting it,
You might be caught offguard.

Your organs might be harvested
While you are unaware,
Or someone may invade your dreams
To plant an idea there.

You might awaken to a world
Infested with undead,
Or find that you’ve somnambulated
Miles from your bed.

And, though this is unlikely,
You might wake up one fine day
To find that Sandra Bullock
Has become your fiancée.

MPAA rating: PG

This is one of those movies I’ve been meaning to see for a while since it’s a favorite of certain romance lovers, and I just got around to it, partly because it sounded vaguely similar to The Big Sick (romance, coma, etc.). Well, it’s actually not very similar at all, but that’s probably best, and I also didn’t realize it’s sort of a Christmas movie. While You Were Sleeping isn’t about to go down as one of the best rom coms ever, but it’s a likable little morsel of ‘90s-era sentiment.

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Sandra Bullock plays Lucy Moderatz, one of those ‘90s romantic leads that are so winsome and pleasant that you wonder why they’re not already married. Then again, Lucy’s not sure either, instead shyly crushing on a well-dressed regular (Peter Gallagher) at her train token booth. When she unexpectedly saves him after he falls in the path of a train, she accompanies her comatose dreamboat Peter to the hospital, and a series of misunderstandings lead his family to believe she is his fiancée, with no one to dispute it. Thus, Lucy must decide how far she should play along with this unintentional fib, especially when suspected by Peter’s handsome brother Jack (Bill Pullman).

To be quite honest, I’m still not sold on Lucy’s reasoning for not telling the truth up front. She supposedly fears that the shock might harm Peter’s sensitive grandmother (Glynis John, who played the Banks matriarch in Mary Poppins thirty-one years earlier), yet I don’t see how she thought she could keep up the charade. Even so, it works well enough for rom-com purposes, including coincidences and comedic reasoning to explain away potential inconsistencies in her story. Despite the untruth, it’s easy to see why she would want to stay with Peter’s family, even apart from her chemistry with Jack, since they welcome her with open arms from her dismal single existence.

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I suppose the main thing that was missing from While You Were Sleeping was the laughs. In spite of the multitude of misunderstandings, I barely chuckled through most of it, so the script is hardly on the level of a Nora Ephron film, yet it still left me smiling with its semi-predictable romance. Almost everyone comes out with sympathy, and I liked the cast overall, from Peter Boyle to Jack Warden but especially Bullock. My VC thought it was “good, leaning toward mediocre,” but it was a better film than that, just not one that I’d consider a classic.

Best line:  (Jack) “I guess I don’t remember meeting you.”   (Lucy) “Well, that’s probably because we’ve never met.”   (Jack) “That could have something to do with it.”


Rank: List Runner-Up


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