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The Preacher's Wife
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The Preacher's Wife More at IMDbPro »

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19 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

A pale remake of a minor Christmas classic

Author: jlacerra from Philadelphia, PA
30 June 2001

You have to wonder why some folks out in Hollywood try to remake that which was done so very well the first time. You can just see them sitting around the conference table talking about adding color and, oh, yeah, lets make the characters black! It would be OK if they really tried to do it better. But they are really just trying to cash in.

Such is the case with "The Preacher's Wife". A modernized color version of the Cary Grant vehicle, "The Bishop's Wife", the insertion of even this excellent black cast does nothing to enhance the story.

Denzel never seems to capture the sly charm of Dudley, the angel sent to help the Preacher. Now we know Denzel can be a charmer, but even he cannot deliver through this tired direction and uninspired script. Nothing really works in the movie (unless, perhaps, you never saw the original), the Preacher is not sympathetic enough, Whitney isn't at full strength as the title character, and even Gregory Hines can't seem to make the villain seem like much of a baddie.

A thorough waste of time and celluloid!

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Pretty good, enjoyable

8/10
Author: kyle-cruse from California
27 June 2009

There is no reason to be hard on this film. An overall rating of 5.2 is very low, in my opinion, and there is little to dislike about "The Preacher's Wife." It's a fairly simple story involving Dudley (Denzel Washington), an angel sent to earth to assist a pastor's marriage during Christmas time. One reason I liked this film is because few romantic comedies in recent years have been clean enough to watch with the entire family. There is almost nothing objectionable here, just a few brief, very mild swear words that have no bearing on the film. It's a decently funny film as well. I had to laugh at Dudley finding an image of a Windows computer screen in his angel handbook. The wisecracking grandmother was also a beneficial addition to the movie. Take her comment "We're gonna play Monopoly, with real money." There are still a few things that could have been improved on. The plot twist involving Dudley falling in love with Whitney Houston could have been played up more and was not nearly as funny as it had the potential to be. Also, the chemistry between the main couple is not super good, and the film lacks the romance necessary to make this a great rom-com. Nevertheless, it's enjoyable and doesn't deserve any harsh comments.

Note: Because of the abundance of Christmas-related content, it's best to watch this around Christmas time, or you may feel slightly embarrassed.

*** out of ****

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24 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

Pretty Stupid Re-Make

4/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
13 November 2006

I just couldn't get into this film, a re-make of sorts of "The Bishop's Wife." The first hour was either annoying or just plain boring, and by then I didn't care what happened in the rest of the movie. Not much happened throughout this film, anyway.

The angel in here, "Dudley" (Denzel Washington) said things no angel would say, such as "If you're up there, Lord, then....."

"If???" He's an angel and he doesn't know if there is a God? Puh-leeze. What an insult to anyone's intelligence and beliefs. Only the secular film world have a dialog like this, where "Secular Humanism," not Christianity, is worshiped, as it is in this film.

Whitney Houston looked good in here, the best I've ever seen her. Washington went around with a sappy look on his face through most of the film. I wonder if he was just embarrassed starring in a dumb movie like this.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Romantic winner

9/10
Author: cg-cgeorge from United Kingdom
25 December 2008

This is a wonderful piece of work that should not be compared with any other in the genre of the Christmas/angel type or the so often mentioned Bishop's Wife. Its not the first film to use an old story and alter it and should be looked at as an original piece of work which is what it is. It simply works well mainly because it is perfectly cast, any romantic will be drawn in, willing the beautiful people in this case Whitney Houston and Dezel Washington together. Washington is pure magic on the screen, playing the inoffensive angel who ignores the ignorance and rudeness thrown at him by thoughtless people who should know better, he pulls off some great moments in the story. Unusually too the children are well cast, not too sugary or given scene stealing lines, they complement the adults rather than displace or ridicule them. This is a specialist type of film, a romantic, unrealistic dreamy story, and must be judged in that light.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

It's a Wonderful Bishop's Life

6/10
Author: zunitrail-1 from Japan
12 March 2010

I saw this when it was in the theaters. I basically loved it mainly for its music and Jennifer Lewis' (Julia's mother) performance, but also I loved the opening and closing (climax) scenes. I'm basically a sucker for that kind of thing, and I understand how other people wouldn't find it interesting. I just saw the movie (The Bishop's Wife) which it was based on and finally feel qualified to comment. TPW was not just a remake of TBW, but more of a combination of TBW and "It's a Wonderful Life." Henry in TPW was the character of Jimmy Stewart in IWL, always caring for the underdog (altho very cynical to the angel's angelhood); Joe Hamilton in TPW was "Mr Potter" of the same, with his schemes to redevelop and control the town. I actually found it charming the way elements of TBW found themselves woven into TPW: the ice skating scene, the typewriter-turned-PC, the final sermon, to name a few. But I did realize that the message had been diluted into a feel-good comedy. There are no moments where one feels deeply moved merely by dialogue, such as TBW's Dudley's story of David and the Lion, which captivates the Bishop's entire household, down to the all-business secretary (not to mention the audience!). In TPW, we are made to be moved by the beautiful music; and as such, I guess we might as well just buy the soundtrack. TBW reminded me that special effects are only as good as the movie itself.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

I loved it

8/10
Author: carolynspringmorrison from United States
25 December 2009

A very long time ago I happened on "The Bishop's Wife" and really liked it, but it wasn't a Christmas classic and I never saw it again. So when I realized there was a "re-make" I was excited. I liked this story even better! I thought Whitney Houston was terrific and the rest of the characters (especially her mother) were also very enjoyable. Sometimes I just need a break from the mayhem and violence and this is a sweet, uplifting, old-fashioned Christmas pleasure I try to watch every year. If you like Denzel, if you like Lionel Ritchie, if you like Gregory Hines, and especially if you like gospel music, please give this movie a try.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

I Liked It

8/10
Author: olivia porazzi from United States
22 March 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Maybe I am one of the few people on this message board that actually liked this movie. I thought it was great. It was a charming story about the power of miracles and the fact that angels do really exist. (Of course, we wish they all looked like Denzel Washington, but they do exist!) This is my favorite type of a story because so many people these days forget about the miracles every day.

I mean, here comes Dudley, an angel, from heaven sent to help out a family that was about to come apart. Maybe some people don't believe that is possible, but I certainly do. The performances were amazing and we get to hear Whitney Houston's beautiful voice. Give this movie a shot!

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18 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Disappointing remake

3/10
Author: Whythorne from United States
4 September 2005

Yet another cinematic remake of an older classic that begs the question: "Why?" Especially when the changes made to script and story not only offer no improvement, but are actually giant steps backward.

"The Bishop's Wife," upon which this film is based, beats this one hands down in all major categories of story, direction, and acting. I even enjoyed the original soundtrack by Hugo Friedhofer far better, in spite of the fact that this film was obviously intended to be a vehicle to exploit Whitney Houston's vocal talent. (Does that remind you of another Whitney Houston vehicle co-starring Kevin Costner?)

In the original movie, a need for an angel to be sent to the Bishop makes perfect sense...the bishop played by David Niven was obviously conflicted with earthly ambitions and had lost his way spiritually, sadly neglecting his wife and child in the process. In this remake, Denzel as Dudley the angel seems lost as to what his mission is. In fact, the Preacher often seems to be a better person than the angel in this version! The basic problem is that the Preacher is so dedicated in his role as pastor helping the sick and troubled ghetto kids, his time as a family man is understandably stretched thin. (Incidentally, there is a scene where Henry the preacher is spending quality time with his son, which even undercuts the film's attempt to construct this minor conflict.) Anyway, it all seems more like a job for a scheduling consultant than something as drastic as sending an angel down from heaven to perform "miracles".

The Bishop's Wife was also made during a time when Hollywood did not shy away from Christian spiritual themes. While Cary Grant's Dudley the angel is clearly a messenger and servant of God, Denzel Washington's tired glances skyward seem to indicate a reluctant impatience with the Almighty that further contradicts his role and ultimate purpose in the story. And as can be expected in this era of movie sermonizing, humanism is the true "savior" celebrated on Christmas Day.

A handsome cast with Denzel and Whitney, but lacking all the charm, subtle spiritual depth and cohesion of the original.

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Great movie, and a much better remake.

7/10
Author: jumpjoypark from Bend, Oregon.
1 March 2004

Fine and uplifting remake has everything going for it. A great leading man (Denzel Washington) and a great cast of characters that will lift your spirits when you are down. Penny marshal has made a new Xmas classic, and it's a much better movie than the original Bishop's Wife.I like the original as well with Cary Grant but Denzel Washington makes an even better angel, and gives an even bigger heart.

Great support is giving by Courtney B. Vance and Whitney Houston, and the late Gregory Hines in one of his finest performances. The soundtrack by Miss Houston is simply amazing, and it has every that a soundtrack should have in it. This is one fine and amazing movie, see it and let a smile come a cross your face.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful Romantic Entertaining Movie

10/10
Author: danceability-1 from Netherlands
4 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As a rule I don't tend to warm to remakes of classic films however the Penny Marshall directed Christmas story "The Preacher's Wife", is a definite exception and has become one of my favourite festive season viewing experiences. Based on the classic Samuel Goldwyn film "The Bishop's Wife", which starred legends Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven, this 1996 effort has a charm and slant on the essentially same story all its own. Denzel Washington in the role of an angel sent down to earth to sort out the life of a preacher who has lost sight of what really is important, is a most worthy successor to Cary Grant in the original film and Whitney Houston in the female lead displays a warm screen presence and great musical talent that couldn't be bettered in this type of story. Amazingly I only saw this film for the first time 3 years ago but it has become a firm favourite of mine ever since. Combining a traditional and much loved Christmas tale with some truly wonderful gospel singing gives this effort a really upbeat feel which however never sacrifices for one minute the more touching aspects of the story.

A truly inspirational and touching story filled with some beautiful music and comic pieces is the best way to describe this beautiful little movie. I love all three lead performances here and it's a joy to see Denzel Washington, normally the star of some intensely dramatic films, in such a charming and light hearted role as Dudley. He displays a fine comic talent and teams especially well with the other two leads. If ever there was a proper successor to Cary Grant in this role then Denzel Washington is it. Whitney Houston does very well in the role of Julia and she displays a nicely touching persona especially in her scenes with her screen son. She of course comes alive in the musical numbers many of which she produced herself. I've become a big fan of gospel music after her terrific rendition of such numbers as,"Step by Step", and especially the show stopping "I believe in you and me". Courtney Vance playing the earlier David Niven role of Henry is also excellent and his performance contains a lot of the dramatic meat of the story as the essentially kind hearted preacher who is torn too many ways and sees himself loosing his family. His work with Denzel Washington in particular is note worthy especially in the scenes when he can't seem to understand just "where", this mysterious helper has suddenly come from. Other standouts in the cast are Loretta Devine as Julia's mother in a very funny performance full of great lines and wry observations about what is happening in the Biggs household, and Gregory Hines as sharp business man Joe Hamilton who in turn is also affected by Dudley's presence in his previously rather shallow life. The look and feel of "The Preacher's Wife", makes it a wonderful newer Christmas viewing experience and much of the credit goes to the church scenes with the St. Matthew's choir taking centre stage. Their singing and expert handling of all the gospel music is perfect and really gets you into the feel of the season.

As a "modern", Christmas story I personally feel "The Preacher's Wife", is a most worthy successor to the well known and greatly loved earlier classics like "White Christmas", and "Miracle on 34th Street". Taking a very different slant on the story than the earlier 'The Bishop's Wife", it manages to be wholly original in its own way and makes delightful seasonal viewing. Try and see this touching film next Christmas and I'm sure it will become a treasured part of your holiday viewing like it is in my home.

danceability-1, Amsterdam Holland

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