Matthew Perry is known for pretty much one thing. Friends and Chandler Bing. He made his career starring the long-running hit TV series and while it was his ticket to Hollywood stardom, it isn’t the only hit he’s had. One of his biggest features films is now available on Netflix.
Fools Rush In is the 1997 romantic comedy that pairs up Matthew Perry with Salma Hayek. In the film, Perry plays Alex Whitman, a New York City architect who is sent to Las Vegas to oversee construction on a nightclub his firm was hired to build. Alex is the strait-laced, buttoned-up type who likes to keep himself in check.
While he is on the job researching possible menus for the nightclub, Matthew Perry happens to meet a photographer, Isabel Fuentes. She is opposite Alex as her free-spirited nature immediately shows. But as opposites do attract, the same goes for Alex and Isabel. They find themselves with immediate lust-at-first sight, which then finds them sharing a bed for the night. The next morning, though, they realize their attraction was fleeting and decide to part ways.
The next time Alex and Isabel meet, it is under much different circumstances. Isabel has brought Alex a surprise in that she is pregnant with his child. Isabel has decided to keep the baby and raise it but she knows when she tells her family that she is becoming a single mother, they will be very unhappy. So she asks Alex to accompany her to a dinner party so when her family asks her about the baby’s father, she can tell her family that they did meet the father one time. This is where we get some classic Matthew Perry.
A strange thing happens when Alex goes along with Isabel to the party. The perpetually single man begins to see things about Isabel he truly likes. His attraction grows for her and though Isabel is ready to bid him a fond farewell after the party, Alex suggests they take a look at a real relationship. So, Alex proposes to which Isabel agrees. They marry quickly.
Of course, things can’t all be peachy. Isabel meets Alex’s mother, which doesn’t go well, and Alex is approached by Isabel’s father. This makes the two wonder if their marriage was the right move. Things get even rougher for the two when Alex tries to balance his career between New York and Las Vegas.
Sadly, Isabel has a complication with her pregnancy, and she informs Alex that she lost the baby. Heartbroken, Alex returns to work on the nightclub while Isabel heads to Mexico to recuperate at her great-grandmother’s house.
It takes some soul-searching, but Alex finally realizes that his love for Isabel is greater than his career, so off to Mexico he goes. When he arrives at Isabel’s great-grandmother’s home, Isabel is not there. She has returned to Las Vegas. Alex finally finds Isabel at Hoover Dam. Isabel has one more surprise for him.
If you like romantic comedies, then Fools Rush In is for you. The movie premiered in 1997 when Matthew Perry was a rising star on Friends which, at the time, was only three seasons into its ten-season run. Salma Hayek was just coming off of her American feature film debut in Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado, then followed that up with a small role in Rodriguez’s next film From Dusk Til Dawn, where she played vampire queen Santanico Pandemonium. The pairing of the two had a lot going for it.
Andy Tennant was given $20 million to direct the film from a script by Katherine Reback and Joan Taylor. Tennant didn’t have much feature film experience at the time, having only one feature on his resume, the 1995 film It Takes Two. But he showed he could handle a romantic comedy with precision, something that would give way to other features he would help like Sweet Home Alabama, Hitch, and Fool’s Gold. The movie fared well at the box office bringing in $42 million.
For the next four years, Matthew Perry would make one feature film a year, during his Friends hiatus. After the 1997 Fools Rush In, Perry went on to star in the 1998 movie Almost Heroes opposite Chris Farley and what would be Farley’s last film before his tragic death. Perry then went on to Three to Tango in 1999, and then another big hit for Perry came in 2000 when he starred opposite action film legend Bruce Willis in The Whole Nine Yards.
It is no secret that Matthew Perry has been in a constant struggle with drug addiction, but it was the burning desire for fame that got him there. “There was steam coming out of my ears, I wanted to be famous so badly,” Perry admitted in a 2002 interview with New York Times. “You want the attention, you want the bucks, and you want the best seat in the restaurant.”
Fame has its price and Perry paid it. “From an outsider’s perspective, it would seem like I had it all,” he continued on. “It was actually a very lonely time for me because I was suffering from alcoholism.” It was this alcoholism that caused Perry to draw a blank when it came to three whole seasons of filming Friends.
“I don’t remember three years of it,” Perry finally said in a BBC interview. “I was a little out of it at the time — somewhere between seasons three and six.”
In and out of rehab is where Perry would find himself, most times losing his battle. He continued to get work when he could, his sense of comedy and timing still sharp despite the damage he continued to do to himself.
Matthew Perry found life after Friends, while it continued to keep the doors open for him, was not as easy. He’s tried and failed at a number of attempts to get his own shows off the ground. He was in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip which lasted two seasons. Then he went back to comedy with Mr. Sunshine and that lasted a whole 13 episodes.
He tried his hand at another comedy series shortly after the Sunshine failure. Unfortunately, Go On only lasted a quick two seasons. From there it was another failure (though this one lasted three seasons) with the remake of the ‘60s sitcom The Odd Couple, where he played Oscar Madison, a role that Jack Klugman made famous.
Matthew Perry’s most recent foray back into television came twice in 2017. The first was on the series The Good Fight where he reprised his role from The Good Wife. The second was a critically acclaimed role in The Kennedy’s After Camelot where he played Ted Kennedy.
The big news surrounding Matthew Perry was his return to the set of Friends with all his former co-stars. The one-off show, Friends Reunion, was a two-hour nostalgic tour the six stars took on HBO Max, reminiscing about their ten seasons on the hit show. The numbers were big for the show and its stars as it was estimated to have been seen by 29% of streaming households on the first day of its release.
For now, Matthew Perry doesn’t have anything lined up but that’s not saying he isn’t working on things in the background. One can hope his sobriety continues to be his main focus. For now, though, you can catch Perry in the nice romantic comedy, Fools Rush In, on Netflix.