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When Max dies in an accident, he goes straight to hell. But the devil Barney makes him an offer: if he manages to get three innocent youths to sell him their souls in the next two months, he may stay on earth. Max accepts, and returns to earth, equipped with special powers. However his task is harder than expected, especially when 7 years old Tobi demands that he marry his mother. —Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
Elliott Gould's career slowed down after a string of R-rated films in the 60's and 70's...and came to a screeching halt in 1981. Disney's attempt in the eighties to modernize their films included casting Bill Cosby and Elliott Gould as The Devil and Max Devlin respectively. The plot involves Gould signing up three good souls for the Devil so as to replace his own soul from going down South. In concept, this is basically the flip side of Oh God! (George Burns and John Denver). Bill Cosby probably seemed like a hip if not fair replacement for George Burns (both being beloved stand-ups) but Elliott Gould was too much of a bad boy to be considered sympathetic in any film. The sort of sympathy evoked by John Denver in "Oh God!" Together, Cosby and Gould had no chemistry with little if any comic opportunities. Cosby was not very believable as the Devil and we could care less if Gould spent eternity in Hell. Singer Julie Budd was cast as one of the "good" souls (the in-joke here is that Julie Budd is a look-alike, sound-alike clone of Barbara Streisand and Streisand is the former Mrs. Gould. Of course kids who saw this film in 1981 didn't have a clue who she was...oh heck, most adults didn't know who she was...so why the trouble in casting Julie Budd?) To make things worse she sings one song "Rainbows and Roses" over and over and over and over and over again. Disney turns out more music than any film studio, couldn't they write a few songs for this film? Adam Rich (former "Eight Is Enough" social tragedy) and David Knell round out the trio in appearances that are a notch below a below-average Love Boat guest spot. Susan Anspach ("Montenegro") plays Adam Rich's mom and Gould's love interest and deserves the most sympathy for that alone.
- Aug 6, 2000
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