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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Heaven Can Wait (1978)

When a football player (Warren Beatty) is hit by an oncoming auto, an angel (Buck Henry) removes him from his body before his "death". But the angel jumped the gun and the football player would have survived so he must be returned to his body but unfortunately it has already been cremated. The temporary solution until a proper body is found is placing him in the body of a millionaire murdered by his wife (Dyan Cannon) and her lover (Charles Grodin). A remake of the popular 1941 comedy HERE COMES MR. JORDAN, the film seemed rather retro even in 1978 and today, it seems as old fashioned as its 1941 progenitor. Which doesn't mean it doesn't have its charms, it does principally due to Elaine May who co-wrote the screenplay along with Beatty. Her touch is clearly evident in the Cannon/Grodin scenes which have a Mike Nichols/Elaine May feel to them. Beatty overestimates his charm and Julie Christie seems overqualified in "the girl" role. Thankfully, Cannon (justifiably Oscar nominated), Grodin and Jack Warden (also Oscar nominated) are expert farceurs and provide the majority of the film's laughs. The monothematic score is by Dave Grusin. With James Mason, Vincent Gardenia (his role is poorly written), Joseph Maher, John Randolph and R.G. Armstrong.

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