For a romantic comedy, Then Came You is a surprisingly funny film that attempts to avoid the overly sentimental melodrama that is all too common in the genre. While not completely successful, the film does enough to maintain the viewer’s interest.
Unsurprisingly, the plot isn’t groundbreaking as it follows an American tourist, Anabelle (Kathy Lee Gifford, who also penned the screenplay), who travels to Scotland with her husband’s ashes. Her first stop is at a massive, beautiful estate belonging to Howard (Craig Ferguson) that doubles as a hotel of sorts. The fact that there are no other guests, or indeed any evidence of recent guests, establishes that Howard’s life isn’t as problem-free as his attitude may suggest. As for Anabelle, her husband’s ashes are never far from reach, suggesting her grief process is still in motion. Her trip across the Atlantic also seems like a spontaneous act that is out of character for her.
While Anabelle and Howard may not be deep characters, they are well-written and convey personality thanks to Gifford and Ferguson’s excellent chemistry that looks almost effortless. Most of the laughs come from the characters’ extreme differences – ‘opposites attract’ after all – as the screenplay initially plays up the cultural clash between the UK and the US. Some of the funniest moments are found when Howard’s very British dry sense of humour, which feature some fantastic jokes, does not strike a chord with Anabelle.
Unfortunately, the second half of the film loses steam as the cultural differences are abandoned entirely. From here the film becomes a familiar ‘will they, won’t they’ situation. A few plot twists attempt to inject energy into proceeding, but they are either predictable or disconnected from the rest of the story.
Despite these missteps, and Gifford’s wavering accent, this is an amusing film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The comedic decline in the latter sections hurts the momentum initially created, but there is still plenty to enjoy. Then Came You is an entertaining film that strays from overused formulas which helps it to stick out in the genre.