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This movie didn't get as much credit as it deserves. I guess everyone expected it to have the same power as Grease because of its stars. This movie I think can stand on its own. It has a cute story and it does have that great star power. It has times when it's funny and it has times when it's romantic and it has times when it's dramatic. So it didn't have that same spirit as Grease if you give it a chance to prove itself you might actually enjoy it and not punish it for not living up to what people expected.
The most important thing to remember when watching "Two of a Kind" is that
is was really a vehicle for the two stars, based upon the idea that their
chemistry in Grease would make for another hit, which sadly, in this case,
it didn't. They were determined to do another film together and had looked
through over 30 scripts before choosing this one - one wonders quite how
dire some of those must have been...
Other reviewers have already written about the plot, so I won't concentrate on that, rather on the performances and the way the film comes across.
There is a pretty starry cast here - Gene Hackman plays God, Oliver Reed plays the Devil and angels include Charles Durning and Beatrice Straight. Unfortunately, as a film experience, it just doesn't seem to work - probably the reason why it did so poorly at the Box Office at the time, despite a $5m marketing budget. Lots of rewinding and stopping time, which can be confusing if you're not paying attention; Oliver Reed singing(badly); and minor characters (Olivia's flatmates, her landlord) that do nothing for the plot and tend to irritate when they appear.
However, Olivia and John do make a very cute couple - I spent the entire second half of the film with a grin on my face, feeling very soppy, once they get it together.
The acting on the part of the two stars is fine. If I'm nit-picking, ONJ gives a slightly uneven performance in TOAK - one or two scenes where she seems to be saying the words with a bit too much "acting", but very commendable otherwise. They both have a good sense of timing, and that comes though. There is even a "love" scene, although hardly x-rated - they keep most of their clothes on, although ONJ reported that she felt quite nervous about it at the time. She even swears in one scene, which is a bit weird the first time you hear it!
I always felt sorry that ONJ had a poor run with films after Grease and pretty much chucked the acting in, bar the occasional TV movie, although she seems to be making a slow return in a few indie films in the last 5 years. I think she could of gone on to a decent film career if she'd have picked some better films in the early 80's. She does have a good sense of comic timing (she is known in entertainment circles for a wicked sense of humour) - maybe in an alternate universe could have been the Meg Ryan of her generation...
The soundtrack is probably the strongest thing about TOAK - ONJ sings about half of what you hear in the film; she is head and shoulders above everything else. Olivia and John even do a duet - "Take a Chance", although it's not really anything to write home about. Give me "Twist of Fate" anyday.
I am a fan of both Olivia and John and I do love this movie. However, I appreciate its faults, and I'm not going to pretend that it's something it isn't. All in all, it's not a "great" movie in the traditional sense of the word. Where you are going to get rewarded watching TOAK is if you are a fan of Olivia and/or John (especially the two of them together.) It is a romantic comedy, and not a particularly good one at that, but that chemistry between them is certainly still there after "Grease", and that does give TOAK a certain something.
With a cast this good, it's natural to expect a lot more than this
script could deliver. John and Olivia are reunited for the first time
since Grease, and the results were a big letdown for a great many
Our story centers around the fact that God, played by the voice of Gene Hackman, is fed up with humanity. He's so tired of all the crime and bad behavior on Earth that he plans on sending another huge flood to finish us all off. Four angels (who are perhaps the best part about the film) plead with God to give humanity one more chance. God agrees, but demands to see some kind of miracle within a week or so. Apparently it will only take a couple of mere mortals (Travolta and Newton-John) sacrificing something for each other to save all of man kind. Too bad both characters are self-centered and shady. Travolta is a struggling inventor(!) who owes a fortune to a violent loan shark. Newton-John is a struggling actress who also works at a bank that Travolta plans to rob for the money to pay off his debt. Olivia tricks him and takes the money for herself, setting up contrivance after contrivance for the remaining screen time. It looks like the world will come to an end since neither character trusts the other (why should they?) and the Devil is also on the scene to foul things up for them. I could go on and on about this plot, but you probably get the idea. This is pretty questionable material we're working with in terms of a screenplay.
I liked Oliver Reed quite a bit as the Devil. If the Devil walked the streets of New York, I suppose that's how he'd look or act. I also enjoyed watching he and the Charles Durning's angelic character square off by moving time back and forth to suit their respective needs. The film gets a few laughs out of a restaurant scene where the two demolish the place before God appears to reign in Durning for "abusing his powers".
The film is full of 80's clichés and scenes that only serve to date the material. There is little or no chemistry between the two leads, and that was the main reason behind this film's failure. Travolta's body is bound to be a plus for the ladies in the audience. He was still buff from his work in "Staying Alive". Olivia looked better in Xanadu with her longer hair, if I may be so bold. The film did virtually nil at the box office, and Travolta's career went south in a hurry shortly thereafter.
I'll give it 4 stars mostly for the great cast. And any film with Scatman Crothers always gets a bonus star from the Hound. I loved that guy.
5 of 10 stars total.
This was, effectively, John Travolta's last film before his near-decade
long hiatus in the 1980's, and while it marks the end of the cheesy,
romance genre with which he'd become synonymous at the time, it's not a
bad vehicle in which to reunite the former "Grease" stars.
Travolta is a down-on-his-luck inventor who bungles a bank robbery to pay off gambling debts. Newton-John is the bored bank teller who takes pity on his predicament, teaming up as they dodge enemies and the law. Amid all the chaos, God has decided that the world is no longer worth the effort and plans to bring about its end. Only the intervention of a trio of well meaning angels (and Travolta and Newton-John as the saviours) can change God's mind. Encapsulating the unusual plot in a few sentences almost makes it sound complicated (not to mention absurd), but in reality, it's very light and entertaining.
Diverse cast in the supporting ranks (Reed, Durning, Crothers, Straight and Hudson most notable) provide madcap characterisations, and Travolta and Newton-John have an on-screen chemistry that is warming, if hopelessly corny at times. The soundtrack featuring some minor hits from Chicago, Journey and Boz Scaggs as well as Newton-John, is easy listening and fits the lighthearted mood well. There's some reasonable action sequences, stunts and set-work, and enough entertaining moments to fill out the 85-odd minutes.
An honest invention, not the typical self-indulgent romantic comedy that became stock standard of the nineties. Good cast, more comedy than romance, what's not to like?
This movie is a classic(well at least a cult classic!) You have Travolta and Olivia back together,a very cute premise,And a splash of drama mixed in with the comedy! The chemistry between John and Olivia is turned up another notch in this vehicle,and Olivia Swears!!! (that was the reason a lot of us went to see it again and again) and although not a musical,you have one of the greatest 80's power pop anthems,Twist of Fate!! This is the only Film Livvy did during her Hot Blooded Vamp days, So if you like you Diva from Down under with an Attitude, T.O.A.K. is the flick for you!!!
"Two Of A Kind" originally opened citywide at Christmas-time 1983 without any pre-release screenings for the critics (and you know what they say...they must have something to hide!). True, the wheezing, inane plot and phony contrivances of "Two of a Kind" are tough to wade through, yet the film has a cartoonish kind of magic that is appealing, especially if you're an admirer of Olivia Newton-John (looking her best here). John Travolta, on the other hand, is slumming it, walking through a rather hopeless role as a would-be inventor so deep in debt he stoops to robbing a bank; Newton-John is the teller who dupes him out of a small fortune. Cheesy, but big-hearted film is a sweet fairy tale, a comic-book romance that doesn't strive for much more than silly laughs and star-crossed love. ** from ****
This movie's unintentional humor is just as funny as the real humor intended to be. There's a lot to watch for here, the once-hot trendy hairstyles hairstyles, edible sunglasses, an small role by an up-and-coming Kathy Bates, are all in here. John's physique was still lookin' hot from "Stayin' Alive" (waxed chest and all), and Olivia's "Physical" haircut had grown out to a nice length by this time. Their clothes and hair are classic mid-80s. I'm sure it was a refreshing change for ONJ from the peasant dress she wore in "Xanadu." The plot is incidental, but an added reason to see this film is the wonderful presence of the late actors Scatman Crothers, Oliver Reed, and Beatrice Straight (a dramatic actor who inexplicably made this one of her only comedic roles). Reed is a pleasure to watch, and Crothers is as jovial here as he was playing Kick the Can in "Twilight Zone: The Movie." They should have realized what they had and made it more campy; but hey, as long as we're in on the joke. This should play on local UHF stations Saturday or Sunday afternoons in a double bill with the Carol Burnett/Alan Arkin film, "Chu Chu and the Philly Flash"!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One of the saddest things about the end of the 1970s is that most folks
in Hollywood didn't realize until too late that they were over. I can
honestly say I truly noticed how music,TV and movies all entered a
grand state of confusion and lack of direction.
"Two Of A Kind" plays the card of "let's put Travolta and Olivia in another film". An all too obvious bait on a hook to attract movie goers and what fans they still had. The trouble is,they don't sing or dance in this movie,which is why everyone loved them in "Grease" and why women loved Travolta in that and "Saturday Night Fever".
The plot,as stated elsewhere is divine intervention from Heaven has to help bing these two unlikely mates together or the world is doomed! This also has to be done without interfering with "free-will". Despite the fact that they "do" interfere with it.
Travolta robs the bank that ONJ works at and this sets up the mostly forgettable story. It typically works out in the end,this is a "romantic comedy" after all.....I guess.
Olivia Newton-John has never really been an actress and although she shined greatly playing Sandy,she never really had a better part afterwards. Two years after this film,the hit songs stopped coming for her and we all know what happened to Travolta. This and other films like "Stayin' Alive" and "Perfect" tumbled John from the movie idol mountain-top for quite a few years.
As for "Two Of A Kind",it's good enough for simple escapist entertainment but for serious movie watchers who expect more,I doubt they'd take up their time with it. I still like it though,but not like I did in '83.
(Would you believe I chose this over "Scarface" that night? )
This movie is worth watching because it's easy to see how much fun John and Olivia are having working together. Plus there's Oliver Reed and some simple fun special affects; although the general plot-line is a very overused one.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I agree, it is not a great movie. I agree I saw it first about 25 years ago and that's when I got a fan. I did not like Travolta back then and I have never liked him since, but Olivia Newton-John is so charming and I also liked the idea of actually nice/helpful angels and that even the devil is more sensible and helpful than God (who clearly can not care about mankind given the state of the world - forever, so no change/ test/... here) - to cut it short: it charmed me and I enjoyed it back then and I did again when I watched it recently (except for the soundtrack - ugh). If you have nostalgia or just want to have a nice movie evening, give it a try, do not expect too much and just enjoy.
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