It Had to Be You is a standard silly romantic comedy movie, except that the flawed, uncertain, and unwitting protagonist is a woman, and not a man. Beyond that, the movie does not break any new ground. Quite the opposite: it plays like it’s an extended version of Friends.
Writer-director Sasha Gordon is a classically trained musician and composer who has scored for over forty narrative films, documentaries and tv projects. She also scores for nationally broadcasted commercials for well-known products, so it is no surprise that the movie’s score is creative, a mixture of classical and jazz themes.
Nor should it be a surprise that It Had to Be You‘s protagonist, Sonia (Cristin Milioti), is an aspiring jingle composer who works as an assistant for a commercial-production company. Sonia’s best friends are all successful and in varying degrees of marriage, engagement or pregnancy, yet Sonia “only” lives with her boyfriend, Chris (Dan Soder). When Sonia discovers that Chris plans on proposing to her, she panics and nearly ends the relationship. While on a break from the relationship, she travels, meets other men and mopes around her friends, all of whom offer that standard romantic comedy advice.
It is refreshing to see a romantic comedy where it is the woman who makes the mistakes, lacks the answers, and has to win the man back, while it is the man who holds the balance of emotional power. But it is a gimmick that can carry the movie only so far. Everything about the move–the plot, the characters, the editing, even the music, is like an extended episode of Friends. There is even a running gag that Sonia and Chris’s friends, an engaged couple, are planning to name their yet-to-be born son Bing, and Sonia and Chris ask, “Like after Chandler from Friends?” Too bad It Had to Be You isn’t memorable.