5.3/10
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37 user 19 critic

Dear God (1996)

PG | | Comedy | 1 November 1996 (USA)
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2:30 | Trailer

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ON DISC
When letters written to God start getting results, and replies, people everywhere are amazed. The post office, however, is annoyed.

Director:

Garry Marshall
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Greg Kinnear ... Tom Turner
Laurie Metcalf ... Rebecca Frazen
Maria Pitillo ... Gloria McKinney
Tim Conway ... Herman Dooly
Hector Elizondo ... Vladek Vidov
Jon Seda ... Handsome
Roscoe Lee Browne ... Idris Abraham
Anna Maria Horsford ... Lucille Barnett
Kathleen Marshall ... Whispering Wendy
Isadora O'Boto ... Hot Mary
Felix Pire ... Ramon (as Felix A. Pire)
Donal Logue ... Webster
Sam McMurray ... Federal Prosecutor
Nancy Marchand ... Judge Kits Van Heynigan
Larry Miller ... State Judge
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Storyline

Tom Turner is a con man, defrauding people from their money with a variety of two-bit hustles. One night he makes the mistake of attempting to hustle some undercover cops, and finds himself in court faced with the dilemma of either going to jail or getting a real job. Choosing to stay out of jail, he gets a job at the post office working in their Dead Letter Office helping to sort Dead Letters (i.e. mail which, for whatever reason, can't be delivered). Some of the mail he recieves can't be delivered because it's addressed to God, and he accidentally answers (sending them money in the process). This starts the ball rolling as more of his co-workers get in on the idea of helping people by answering "God" mail. Written by Afterburner <aburner@erols.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Many people write to God. Somebody is answering. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language and mild thematic elements | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 November 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cher bon Dieu See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,213,045, 3 November 1996, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$7,061,018, 12 January 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Rysher Entertainment See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tom Hanks, Robin Williams and Richard Dreyfuss all turned down the male lead. See more »

Goofs

The envelope that Tom puts the $5,000 dollars in moves around. He first puts it into his pocket, then you see it in his breast pocket, then it disappears. See more »

Quotes

State Judge: Don't make me get the hot brick.
See more »

Connections

References Superman (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

One of Us
by Eric Bazilian
Performed by Joan Osborne
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User Reviews

 
Starts awfully, then improves measurably
27 January 2000 | by Vance-11See all my reviews

"Dear God" is the rare example of a movie that starts abysmally but slowly gains its stride. Most films these days are the opposite. They grab you right off, then run out of steam. To be fair, "Dear God" never fully grabs you or has much steam. But it gets to the point where it becomes worth watching, eliciting several pleased chuckles, while still falling far short of out-and-out funny.

Greg Kinnear plays a two-bit hustler whose honest face and convincing stories allow him to con working joes out of their money. He has a gambling debt to repay to Junior, an overweight thug who teaches him a lesson or two about horses and stables at a disastrous visit to the track. Kinnear's Tom Turner is arrested while trying to scam two undercover cops disguised as foreign sight-seers, and in a ridiculous plot convenience, is sentenced to find a paying job for one year. Most criminals should be so lucky. But of course, Turner has that honest face.

Anyway, he ends up at the post office, where he's assigned to a dead letter office filled with whacko postal cast-offs, played with sufficient nuttiness by Laurie Metcalf, Jon Seda and Tim Conway, among others. Conway's character once memorized the entire layout of the city of L.A., but was demoted when he lost it and bit a dog. Metcalf plays a former lawyer who needed a "less stressful" job. You get the idea.

Through a series of accidents, this motley crew begins answering letters to God, and, through their limited means, they begin making minor miracles happen throughout L.A. The press picks up on it, which draws the attention of the U.S. Postmaster General (played with his usual rabid energy by the director, Garry Marshall), and brings heat on the do-gooder crew, whose activities are technically illegal. (Opening the mail is a federal offense). Meanwhile, Kinnear's Turner remains on the run from the gangsters and tries to woo a single mother played by the adorable Maria Pitillo, whose character has no function in this film other than as a weak romantic interest.

Extraordinarily lame-brained from the get-go, "Dear God" actually gets on course, as the relative uniqueness of its storyline manifests itself in some sweet, quiet moments, and as the ensemble group of veteran actors really begins to relish their roles. Metcalf is always funny, although she's a little over the top here, and Kinnear is notable for his ability to play a likeable everyman. Conway has a very-funny apology scene with a dog and is otherwise likeable in his eccentricity.

The movie ultimately only reaches the level of so-so -- but I guess the fact that I felt compelled to write about it means that it made some impact on me, and that I can marginally recommend it. 5 out 10.


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