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Jerry Landers, a supermarket assistant manager and a good yet non-religious person, suddenly finds a note in the mail one day that grants him an "interveiw" with God. Thinking it to be a hoax he tosses it away, but when it keeps reappearing he finally gives in. Skeptical at first, he ends up carrying His personal message - that the world can work with what God's given us. Written by
I was a little apprehensive renting the DVD of this movie after all of these years since its original release, but most of it holds up remarkably well.
On the DVD commentary tract, the makers of the film, looking back on it after 25 years, seem to be equally as surprised. The director, Carl Reiner, points to an eight-minute scene in which it is just Denver and Burns talking in a bathroom. There is no music, no fast cuts, no special effects, and the scene simply holds our attention on its own. Mr. Reiner indicates that there is no way that the scene would be made that way today.
Some scenes are timeless, such as Jerry's first encounter with the Almighty via intercom in the all-white room. Also classic is the infamous scene in the bathroom in which God first reveals himself in the flesh to a humbled and still somewhat disbelieving John Denver.
Unfortunately, not all of the movie holds up as well. Some things, especially exteriors, seem very dated. And even though it is quaint, it is hard to believe that an intelligent and capable husband and wife team would cherish a Supermarket Assistant Manager Job so much. Ah well, it was another time when people still believed in sticking with one company and working their way up through the ranks.
I wish that the film would explore some of the harder questions of religion a little more seriously, but one wonders if the film would collapse if taken out of its sweet, feel-good movie formula in which it is helplessly trapped forever.
If anything, rent it for the performances of the two leads. George Burns, playing the role at 83, is so good, that it is, (not to be cliched,) awesome. However, what is equally as unbelievable is the performance of John Denver in his first and only acting gig. He hits some of his notes perfectly, and it really shows a significant skill and timing to play straight man to a legend like Burns.
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