With the help of a talking freeway billboard, a wacky weatherman tries to win the heart of an English newspaper reporter, who is struggling to make sense of the strange world of early 1990s Los Angeles.
Richard E. Grant
Sgt. Bilko is a well-liked conman in charge of the army base's motor pool, developing a hover tank and unofficially of gambling etc. One man hates Bilko and he's coming to inspect the base for possible closure.
The year is 1750. Europe is in a ravaged state following a plague. Victor Moritz and Rufolf de Sevre are gamblers, frequenters of elegant casinos and fashionable brothels. Rudolf is a young... See full summary »
Jonas is a fraudulent faith healer, who uses all the tricks in the book to con the people attending his shows. Jonas and his team of helpers, including Jane who is in need of some romance, travel the country stopping at big towns and cities to put on their show. When one of the trucks breaks down in a small town, Jonas is quick to accept the challenge of making money in this town. His other goal is to seduce Marva, a waitress in the town, but she's a hard nut to crack, as is Will, the local sheriff who's determined to expose Jonas as a fraud.Written by
Jonas's "mind-reading" trick, wherein he receives intimate details about his marks via a small radio, loosely follows the exploits of televangelist Peter Popoff, who performed a very similar trick with his wife at the microphone. Popoff's career took a nosedive when he was publicly "outed" on the Johnny Carson show by professional magician and skeptic James Randi, who had managed to smuggle a radio scanner into one of Popoff's revival meetings. See more »
When Will consoles a conflicted Jane by massaging her bare feet in his backyard, an overhead shot shows him rubbing her left foot but when the camera cuts to a medium shot, Will's hand is gently caressing the toes of her right foot for the remainder of the scene. See more »
Leap of Faith tells the story of travelling faith healer, Jonas Nightingale (Steve Martin), who visits a small drought-stricken town to supposedly spread the word of God and heal some people's suffering. Or, if truth be told, to make a quick and easy buck by playing on people's gullibility. Essentially, he is a fraud, pretending to be on divine terms with the holy father but in actual fact is fed information about members of his audience through an earpiece by his assistant Jane (Debra Winger).
Jonas is on the surface a charismatic type, as you'd expect from a Steve Martin role, but is also a fraudulent and essentially remorseless swindler. This comes to the fore when he crosses paths with Marva (Lolita Davidovich) - a young woman who has a long-held prejudice against his type after a faith healer blamed his inability to heal her crippled brother on his 'lack of faith' - and Will (Liam Neeson), the sheriff who doesn't look kindly on Jonas' swindling a poor and struggling rural town with false hope.
It's a story about deception, and faith, and divine intervention. It's also a story about remorse, and paying for your own mistakes. Cleverly written and directed with great performances all around and a number of seriously catchy gospel hymns, it's quite a winner in terms of entertainment. However, it does have a fair few corny sections and a lot of the interpersonal relationships are fairly thin.
It worked well for me because I watched it instead of a religious studies class in high school, but I can imagine it still working in plenty of other contexts as well. ***1/2 / *****
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