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Wishful Thinking (I) (1990)

 -  Comedy
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Ratings: 4.8/10 from 22 users  
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A screenwriter rescues a gnome. When the gnome tells him he will grant him a wish, he uses it to get the girl of his dreams.


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Title: Wishful Thinking (1990)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Murray Langston ...
Johnny Dark ...
Jake (as Ray Mancini)
Melissa Shear ...
Vic Dunlop ...
Starr Danias ...
Kip Addota ...
Dr. Harding
Charlie Brill ...
Marty Anderson
Tracy Shakespeare ...
Kent Perkins ...
Sam Perryman ...


A screenwriter rescues a gnome. When the gnome tells him he will grant him a wish, he uses it to get the girl of his dreams.

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Written by Paul Ventimiglia and Murray Langston
Performed by Reggie Burrel
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Plenty to Laugh at, but I Wish It Was Better
17 April 2001 | by (Illinois, USA) – See all my reviews

This review contains some major plot SPOILERS, so don't read the second paragraph if you don't want parts of the movie given away before you see it.

I wish Murray Langston had a better physical appearance to have succeeded in our wrongfully demanding Hollywood, because I think he is a pretty funny guy, between this and `Night Patrol' (which I liked). In this movie, Langston wears a whole bunch of hats: he's the star, the writer, and the director. Alas it is in this last category that he fails. If someone else had been given the director's chair, I think this could have been great.

Langston plays a secluded writer working on a screenplay that he hopes to finish and give to his publisher. He's afraid to leave his little house, and some strange things that keep happening to him are making him question his sanity. These strange things are actually tricks played on him by his publisher and his sister (Ruth Buzzi), who want Langston to be declared insane so that they could get control of the estate Langston inherited from he and his sister's parents. He decides one day to venture outside, and a couple of mishaps happen, resulting in him helping out a midget (Billy Barty). The midget claims he is a gypsy, and gives Langston a notepad which he says will grant whatever wish that is written on it. Langston doesn't take him seriously, until things he writes actually do start to come true. This gives Langston the idea to use the notepad to land a date with a pretty bank teller, played by Michelle Johnson, but in the process of trying, the bank is held up. Langston and Johnson are taken hostage and inadvertently foil the robbery. As the days pass by, Langston tries to woo Johnson while the bank robbers (one of whom is played by boxer Ray `Boom Boom' Mancini) plan revenge and his sister and publisher use his magic notepad claims to declare him insane.

As I said, the direction is what ruins the film. Too often scenes are awkward or lacking something, perhaps because the director was in front of the camera instead of behind it. On the other hand, the cast is great, the side characters (like Langston's best friend and the publisher's secretary) are a riot, and the writing is often hilarious. This is also one of the few comedies (along with `Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo') that is not totally destroyed by a courtroom scene. Comedies that end in courtrooms almost always end in disaster, like `Dear God,' `Big Daddy,' and the over-hyped `Serial Mom,' but it works here, still able to generate laughs while being relevant to the story. Listen closely to the background voices in during the courtroom confusion and you'll hear a hilarious reference to Ray `Boom Boom' Mancini. Anyhow, if you are in the mood for a few belly laughs and don't mind the low budget, you might want to find `Wishful Thinking' and give it a chance. You, too, may find yourself wishing Murray Langston had made more films. Zantara's score: 5 out of 10. I so wish I could rate it higher.

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