A celebration of the simple pleasures of small-town living, developed within the framework of a slowly and gently developing young romance. Viewers who reveled in "Groundhog Day," "Rare Birds" and/or "Local Hero" will find this film amazingly satisfying.
Michael Fox convinces as a promising young doctor (waylaid in fictional Grady, South Carolina) who is slowly smitten by the charms of the town and its lovely, clever-tongued ambulance driver Julie Warner. Warner's delivery is top-notch; she overshadows Fox, captivating every scene with her love-needy eyes and her wry smile.
Woody Harrelson plays the country-corny bumpkin beau whom Warner is gently brushing aside. This is Harrelson at his career turning point, just breaking out of his "Cheers" bartender stereotype - and years before his work in "Indecent Proposal," "The People vs. Larry Flynt" and "Palmetto." Here, Harrelson is subtly revealing his full future potential to the astute viewer.
Bridget Fonda plays the oversexed Southern Belle not too proud to fling herself at Fox in hopes of a more interesting life - somewhere outside Grady. Fonda's delivery is interesting to observe but not especially astounding. Somehow the viewer just knows that, in a sequel unmade, Harrelson and Fonda end up forging a life together.
In terms of cinematography, Grady is well on center stage. Scene after scene fills up with lush, intoxicating backdrops for Fox and Warner's blossoming bliss - a nighttime carousel at the County Fair, a quaint Main Street parade, a meandering wooded trail, fireworks lighting up their little loveboat asail a glass-topped lake. And a myriad of quirky but endearing town residents sprinkled about.
Grady, which is actually much too perfect to really exist, took its location shooting from Micanopy, Florida, just outside Gainesville. But Grady can be anywhere the viewer wants to imagine it to be.
RECOMMENDATION: In my personal library ... and for good reason.