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The career of Eddie Murphy is getting sadder and sadder. After the horrible movie Dr. Dolittle I had some hope that Murphy would take some revenge. However, with this kind of crap he's not doing his career a favor. Where is the Eddie from Trading Places, Beverly Hills cop and even Best Defence?
This movie was a surprise for me. I'll tell you why: it was incredibly funny, but had a "serious" side I bet just a few noticed. The story about a pilgrim which turns to be a famous shopping-channel celebrity is a good idea, but not the real quality of the movie. The fast dialogues, great interpretations and vivacious direction are excellent, too. But the message, what is unsaid, that is important. While we are laughing without rest, we get to learn a few things. I won't list them: this is your "mission"... In short, go see this movie and look for the "hidden message". You won't get disappointed.
I just hope we all have the continued privilege to enjoy watching the great actor Eddie Murphy in more great movies like Holy Man.
I expected the run-of-the mill Eddie Murphy film, a half-funny attempt at an original concept. What I got was a movie with depth, and a subtle Eddie Murphy fitting perfectly into his role as the holy man G. It had its funny moments to be sure, but in the end the impression left is deeper than a comedy normally goes.
Maybe it's because I'm partial to Jeff Goldblum, but I absolutely loved the Holy Man. Goldblum was very funny, as was Eddie Murphy. I read bad reviews, but everyone I've talked to who saw it (who aren't critics) liked the movie. What's with the critics?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Cast as 'G,' an enigmatic messiah who saves a TV shopping network from
disaster, "Trading Places" comedian Eddie Murphy looks like a Buddhist
monk in his white robe with a clean-shaven head. A serene smile on his
face, Murphy spouts platitudes such as "You need to find ultimate and
complete happiness." Not only does "Holy Man" register as a lukewarm
New Age romantic comedy, but it also neglects to exploit Murphy for
maximum mirth. Although billed as the title character, Murphy spends
more time off screen. Sadly, "Holy Man" waits far too long to integrate
the Eddie Murphy character into the action. Worst, "Mr. Holland's Opus"
director Stephen Herek's film crackles with pretense more often than
"Holy Man" focuses on self-absorbed TV executive Ricky Hayman (Jeff Goldblum of "Jurassic Park") whose career at the Miami-based Good Buy Shopping Network is in the crapper. When his new boss, Mr. Bainbridge (a deeply tanned Robert Loggia), delivers an ultimatum, Ricky finds his work cut out for him. If network profits don't pick up in 14 days, Ricky is history. Adding insult to injury, Bainbridge hires sassy media analyst Kate Newell (Kelly Preston of "Twins") to help Ricky devise a distinctive network image. At first, Ricky and Kate hate each other. Eventually, they wind up in each other's arms. Breezing down the freeway one day, Ricky's Jaguar blows a tire. Accident and coincidence serve to bring Ricky, Kate, and G together. On a footloose pilgrimage through Miami, G takes the time to kneel and smell the grass. Crossing the rush hour freeway with no thought for his own safety, G offers to help Ricky and Kate. G captivates Kate with his cordiality. As Ricky is about to drive off, he puts his Jaguar in reverse and nearly backs over the pilgrim. G faints, and Ricky and Kate rush him to the hospital.
Kate invites G to her home to recover. Ricky insists that G bunk with him. G turns Ricky onto herbal teas and meditation. Ricky's low opinion of G does a 180 when G crashes one of Ricky's parties. G uses hypnosis to cure a wealthy party guest who fears flying. Ricky makes a deal with G that sends him before the cameras. G pokes fund at the crass hucksterism of Ricky's cheapskate products. GBSN's ratings soar, and G becomes an overnight sensation. Eventually, a guilt-ridden Kate convinces Ricky that they have no right to ruin G's life with fame and fortune. Driving back to where they met him on the freeway, Ricky and Kate bid G adieu. Nothing miraculous or hilarious enlivens Oscar winning "Dead Poets Society" scenarist Tom Schulman's sluggish, pseudo-inspirational screenplay. The premise is that (1) shopping and (2) watching TV are the two key experiences that Americans pursue with religious fanaticism. Herek and Schulman obsess over plot logistics instead of forging funny situations.
As a comedy, "Holy Man" springs jokes and gags that garnish rather than galvanize the plot. Murphy doesn't appear until nearly twenty minutes or more have elapsed. When G should be front and center for laughs, the filmmakers cut back to Ricky and Kate's banal love story and leaves little time for Murphy. Basically, "Holy Man" doesn't have a prayer, but Eddie Murphy deserves credit for trying something new. The magnetism that G displays comes primarily from Murphy's smirking but subdued performance as a neutered but nice guy. Aside from his on-camera antics during a 'live' taping session in the GBSN studio, Murphy never breaks character to share in the laughter. Lanky Jeff Goldblum milks soulless Ricky Hayman for everything that he can. Goldblum is one of those rare thespians who can make gabby stretches of expository dialogue sound fascinating when it is clear that all he is doing is juggling literary baloney. Kelly Preston furnishes the obligatory sex appeal. Several real-life star, such as Soupy Sales, Betty White, Florence Henderson, and James Brown, show up in celebrity cameos as sponsors for phony products. None of these fake wares elicits more than half-of-a-grin. The best scene in "Holy Man" has G zapping Morgan Fairchild while she is hooked up to a portable electronic, instant face-lifting contraption. Although Eddie Murphy saves a TV shopping network, he loses "Holy Man." Imitating the Home Shopping Network, "Holy Man" sets its satirical sights high in lambasting the bogus lords of television and consumerism. Boasting few insights and even fewer jokes, "Holy Man" lacks the conviction to entertain much less eviscerate. Nowhere as side-splitting as "The Nutty Professor," "Holy Man" makes watching QVC a real option. If you missed "Holy Man" is missed wholly nothing!
So yeah, this movie is supposedly a comedy. It takes a completely unrealistic premise to start with, goes for a couple laughs early on--hey let's hook Morgan Fairchild up to a car battery and make her face bug out with really bad CGI!--then turns into a stupid sappy romance movie where two people are brought together by some random common element (in this case, Eddie Murphy's character). It's like the movie forgot it was supposed to be a comedy and then we have these two people who are supposed to like each other, because the script said so. Eddie Murphy's character is brought into the picture to provide comic relief, but after that first montage of him messing up the sets, all he does is put on the faux guru act. He smiles, and forgives assorted other characters assorted other faults, and generally behaves benevolently. Kelly Preston and Jeff Goldblum fall for each other because they work in the same office. Predictably, one of them does something to lose the other one, and I wonder what happens after then? The jokes stopped coming long ago, so why should we care about these two characters that have no reason to like each other? What's the point?
TV shopping executives Ricky and Kate stumble upon a homeless spiritual man,
G, and discover that his charisma and his honesty are great sales tool. They
put him on the air and he soon is a phenomenon. However his message seems to
go against the very values of materialism of the shopping channel. While
Kate realises what's she's doing, Ricky can only see the chances of
promotion via G's success. As ratings rise so do conflicts.
This film is a strange mix. Is it a romantic comedy between Ricky and Kate? Is it a comedy with G? Is it a condemnation of our shopping, materialistic society? Is it a spiritual message film? Who knows - it tries to be all thing and none of them work because it doesn't know which one it wants to be. The comedy is funny in patches, the romance only comes in towards the end, G's spirituality is pure what-people-want-to-hear-ism and the satire on materialism is too diluted and muddled to be fully effective. That said it's really the only bit that works halfway well.
Murphy is quite good here but is a little hampered - not being able to let loose and get straight laughs (Nutty Professor). Goldblum, looks, sounds and acts the same as he does in everything else. Kelly Preston is good and has to carry the moral weight of the film. Solid support is put in by Robert Loggia, John Cryer and Eric McCormack.
Overall a film that tries to be too much and fails on most of them
Pointless story of a home shopping network general manager (Goldblum) and his encounter with title character "G," (Murphy). Goldblum uses "G" to help raise sales at the station, and "G" miraculously changes Goldblum from a self-centered man to a softie ready to fall in love with his co-worker (Preston). We are meant to assume Murphy's character is somehow divine, but his true identity is never revealed. Film focuses entirely too much on Goldblum and ignores the more likable, and funny, Murphy character.
You must really like Jeff Goldblum to sit through this film. I don't. Eddie Murphy underplays his role and is excellent as usual. Overall there was too much Jeff Goldblum and too little Eddie Murphy and Kelly Preston.
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