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Only a few songs as Elvis plays it straight as Dr John Carpenter. Mary Tyler Moore stars opposite as an incognito nun with a mission to help Dr Elvis clean up the ghetto he lives in. Can the King compete against God for Mary's heart? He can if anyone can. Written by
Paul Batey <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Noteworthy because it was Elvis' last film, Change of Habit is a Sister Act for the sixties, as issues of the day are portrayed in this story about three nuns who move to the inner city.
Elvis Presley plays a hip and happening doctor. His New York City practise is over run with sex starved teen agers, abused children and stubborn parents, all seeking help from this hunk o' burning love. Mary Tyler Moore leads a trio of nuns who forsake their habits when they set up shop with the doctor to help out these people.
From the outset Mary suggests that they not wear their traditional garb, so instead we see three bodacious babes donning mini skirts and funky handbags, walking down Fifth Avenue.
The ladies have a difficult time coping with the myriad of problems that face them in their new digs. Their apartment is a wreck and the neighbors aren't taking to them very well. Even the Cardinal that they report to is disgusted with them.
Change of Habit makes a Disney-like attempt at tackling the issues of the day. Racism is a hot topic as one of the nuns comes under pressure for being black. The film takes place in a hispanic community and there is some discussion about literacy, teenage pregnancy and even drugs, but nothing that the kids couldn't watch.
Change of Habit is not a bad film; certainly its heart is in the right place. The problem is that it's dated. The subject matter is handled with care, (a bit patronizing to be honest) however the issues, while still relevant, look different today. The music was fun. At the time this film was made Elvis was just about to reach his fat stage and his music was becoming silly. 'Rubbernecking' kicks off the film and it's just fabulous!
The cast is good enough to make the trite story line work. This is Elvis eight years before the end, and Mary only a couple of years away from starring in one of the best television sitcoms ever made. Even though Moore makes it clear that she didn't sleep with Elvis, their is no denying that the chemistry between them is ... interesting.
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