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Holy Man

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Holy Man

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Jeff Goldblum
Director: Stephen Herek
Rated: PG
RunTime: 100 Minutes
Release Date: October 1998
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Kelly Preston, Jon Cryer, Robert Loggia

Review by David Wilcock
2½ stars out of 4

Eddie Murphys success continues to baffle. The vulgar and crass The Nutty Professor (1996) managed to pull in a fortune. The vulgar and desperately unfunny Doctor Dolittle (1998) again pulled in a huge gross. But Holy Man is a departure from these films, containing an actual plot and not one fart joke in sight. Sadly, though, it's not a complete success. Jeff Goldblum is Ricky Hayman, who tries to sell products through the Good Buy shopping network, and is failing miserably. Teamed up with Kate Newall (Kelly Preston) he has to get 8% rise in sales otherwise he's out of the job. At this time of woe, 'G' (Murphy) enters his life a religious man who slowly gets more and more into Ricky's life. Ricky eventually decides that G should host his own show on the network, and G's religious rantings make an impact on America saving both the network and Ricky. However, Ricky soon has to make some moral decisions later on in the film.

I very much doubt writer Tom Schulman was intending an laugh out loud comedy, but I hope he was going for a below average meandering tale. While Holy Man has an interesting plot idea, it's badly executed and far too wrung out. The films ideas run out long before the film itself does. Although there are some light jabs at existing home shopping networks, and Eddie gets some good lines, there's something missing to make this amusing. Stephen Herek is almost lazy with the direction, which doesn't really help. And I found it difficult to believe that G's talks would get the American public to buy goods. Their was just no logical explanation for any of it, the audience is expected to believe that this religious nut would become an American hero. Still, that's the Wacky World® of Hollywood.

Eddie Murphy delivers a nice performance as G, and it's nice to see a calmer side to Axel Foley. Sadly, he's a bit too calm, and is almost significant in the movie. Kelly Preston seems to exist as eye candy, with a hopelessly underwritten role which she gives a far too good performance for. Robert Loggia turns up as the flustered network boss, and is quite good fun. There's also celebrity cameos from James Brown and Morgan Fairchild, amongst others.

But there's one redeeming feature of the whole film, a feature that makes it impossible to give this movie less than a 2 1/2 star rating. And that feature is....

Copyright © 1998 David Wilcock

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