A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
"Mr. Wonderful" is one of those films where it's clear to the audience within five minutes what must obviously happen, and clear to the characters only at the end of the story. The film is a New York love story, starring Matt Dillon as an electrician for Con Ed, and Annabella Sciorra as the wife who has recently divorced him. Because he wants to use his alimony payments to buy into a bowling alley, he tries to find her a Mr. Wonderful - someone to marry her and save him money.
Funny? No, because in the first place we can't believe that the alimony payments would be anywhere near enough to buy into what looks like a fairly nice bowling alley. And no, in the second place, because it is clear in every frame that these two people are still in love.
Dillon and Sciorra are two of the more engaging actors in the movies right now, and it's a shame this lamebrained screenplay spends all of its efforts keeping them artificially separated. What you see at work here are filmmakers choosing a formula over the spontaneous discovery of their characters. Instead of starting with these same two characters and seeing what real and intelligent people would do in such roles, "Mr. Wonderful" plugs them into a series of awkward and unconvincing scenes that fall flat because they're phony from the inside out.
The Dillon character is supplied with an ostensible girlfriend (Mary-Louise Parker), but since there's a lack of chemistry between them (exaggerated, so we won't miss it), even the dimmest movie audience must realize she's a decoy. Meanwhile, the Sciorra character has an affair with her professor, played by William Hurt in one of those career moves that actors have fired their agents for.