A-Ron’s Film Rewind Takes You Back In Time To 1994 & Looks Back At The Great Collaboration Of Nancy Meyers & Charles Shyer’s Fantastic Rom-Com/Thriller “I Love Trouble”. A Breezy Summer Escapism That Is Loaded With Charm & Should Be Praised More Than It Has Been In It’s 25 Years.
Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer was already well established screenwriters by the time their film “I Love Trouble” opened in the summer of June 1994. Meyers who was only a screenwriter at the time didn’t find herself directing a film until her spectacular directorial debut, with the 2000 Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt rom-com “What Women Want”. Nancy Meyers who has since become one of my very favorite filmmakers. Her films are really special and her writing is as sharp as a nail.
Shyer on the other hand had directed three films prior to “I Love Trouble”, all three of them impressive films: “Irreconcilable Differences”, “Baby Boom” and “Father Of The Bride”. All three films including a few others like “Private Benjamin”, “Jumping Jack Flash” and “Father Of The Bride 2”, were collaborations with his then wife Nancy Meyers as both were producers and screenwriters. In his career away from working with Nancy Meyers, Shyer directed one of my favorites the remake of “Alfie” with Jude Law. Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer were the Lennon & McCartney of screenwriting.
One of their last collaborative projects is one of their best and most underrated. “I Love Trouble” is a soundly engineered, entertainment machine that offers a neatly crafted confection of laughs and thrills. It’s a breezy summer escapism Rom-Com/Thriller that is loaded with charm. Compared and inspired best by Robert Redford’s “Legal Eagles”, or the screwball newspaper comedies of the Thirties and Forties, like “It Happened One Night” and “His Girl Friday”. Meyers and Shyer’s film is a love-hate-love relationship between a couple of hotshot Chicago reporters trying to get the inevitable big story while falling in love, dodging quips, murder and gun bursts along the way.
Nick Nolte is Peter Brackett, the big dog of the Chicago Chronicle. He is rushed downstate to cover a seemingly accidental train wreck, where he finds himself matched against reporter Sabrina Peterson (Julia Roberts) of the Windy City’s other newspaper competitor the Chicago Globe. “I Love Trouble” was the sampler of the kind of roles Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte were born to play.
The chemistry is natural between the weathered, womanizing Nolte and Roberts’ brazen, confident Peterson. There’s something going on there, and when they’re together onscreen (which is most of the time), it works. The banter and quips that you’ve heard a thousand times before in other films like this is alarmingly fresh and lifelike; a lot of that credit is thanks to the great writing of Meyers and Shyer. I don’t know how they did it but Nick Nolte and Julia Roberts make for a surprisingly believable couple. Even despite their much publicized hatred for each other.
Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte reportedly did not get along throughout filming. Nolte would go on to say that this was the worst movie he had ever done and only did it for the money, while Roberts later said that Nolte was the worst actor she had ever worked with. America’s sweetheart Julia Roberts had described Nick Nolte as “disgusting” whereas Nolte said of her as “not a nice person.” Roberts disliked Nolte’s macho act, and was not shy or polite about letting him know. He, in turn, began deliberately engaging in the act to piss her off.
Julia Roberts as Sabrina is a part that plays up her unmistakable Audrey Hepburn allure. Julia Roberts displays her great range of smiles and to show why her stardom is no fluke. She has the quality of being the girl-next-door wildly enhanced, so that she seems at once extraordinary and accessible, appealing and unthreatening to both men and women. The character of Sabrina is smart, vulnerable, casually chic, and is tailor-made for Julia Roberts. It’s a lively, affecting performance and you can see why she was the “it” girl of Hollywood.
Nick Nolte shows a surprising flavor air for this kind of blithe comedy, although I would consider “48 Hours” and “Three Fugitives” as comedies. They may not be the first couple that pops into mind to play gritty, love-resisting reporters, but they make the film appealing and an easy-to-take confection to their relationship.
Shyer keeps things moving with swift pacing and a confident hand. “I Love Trouble” also glides along because the actors carry their roles with such panache, as if they just invented the Brackett and Peterson types. Whether Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer are working together or alone, they have got enormous talent pumping through their veins. Their work as filmmakers and screenwriters is not full of sly, ironic references to old movies. They create smooth, warmhearted films that make up in style, charm and sharp dialogue. “I Love Trouble” grossed $65 million at the box office from a $45 million budget and proved to not be a critic favorite. After 25 years I still feel it didn’t get a fair chance and has become an underrated classic. I love “I Love Trouble”, I love Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer and I love both Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte. I just have nothing but love for this movie. Here is to another 25 more years!