TV & Movies

Fools Rush In Is Matthew Perry’s Most Underrated Rom-Com

It was Perry’s first major movie — and his personal favorite, too.

Matthew Perry and Salma Hayek in 'Fools Rush In.' Photo via Getty Images
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Since Matthew Perry’s death, fans have been revisiting the late actor’s screen career — a journey that most notably includes playing Chandler Bing on Friends from 1994 to 2004.

In addition to the hit NBC sitcom, Perry earned critical acclaim for his work on The Ron Clark Story and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. And on the silver screen, his box-office hits ranged from The Whole Nine Yards to 17 Again, where Zac Efron played the younger version of Perry’s character.

But in exploring Perry’s oeuvre, it’s easy to miss a true hidden gem: 1997’s Fools Rush In.

Knocked Up Meets Serendipity

If you haven’t seen Fools Rush In — and this is your call to do so! — the romantic comedy follows a new couple, Isabel (Salma Hayek) and Alex (Perry), whose one-night stand results in a surprise pregnancy. (Think of it like a much more earnest precursor to Knocked Up.)

They decide to forge ahead with a relationship despite being two strangers with very different beliefs about destiny. Isabel sees signs everywhere, while Alex is much more cynical.

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Perry’s performance nails his character’s evolution from practical bachelor to full-on believer in the mysterious threads of love. If you’re a fan of Serendipity (another rom-com about fate), you’ll enjoy Alex and Isabel’s meet-cute and the way they submit to their seemingly random relationship — only in this case, it happens much quicker because there’s a baby on the way.

“That Was Probably My Best Movie”

Along with being a charming movie in its own right, Fools Rush In is especially important to the larger context of Perry’s career. In fact, it was his first major film role!

In his 2022 memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, Perry recalled the experience of making the comedy, which he filmed after Friends Season 2.

He described it as “probably [his] best movie,” and credited director Andy Tennant for helping him achieve a career-best performance so early on.

For example, he frequently suggested jokes to the filmmaker, who encouraged him to take a more nuanced approach. “You don’t have to do that,” Perry remembered him saying. “You’re interesting enough to watch without doing that.”

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For Perry, the advice was transformative. “Could this be a different way of saying Matty, you’re enough, the words I’ve been longing to hear my entire life?”

Perry had another personal connection to the movie: His real-life dad, John Bennett Perry, played his father in the film. “I remember they had such a reunion on the set, spending that time together,” producer Doug Draizin recently told the New York Post, adding that it made Perry “proud” to work with his dad on screen.