Flunky devil with a heart of gold, Robert Townsend is a second-rate salesman from Hell, selling dreams in exchange for souls. He has one last chance before he loses his crappy door to door salesman position & gets shipped off to the lower depths of Hell.
So he dashes together a deal including free wish come true in advance of signing on the dotted line. This is apt to get himself in even more trouble, but it's his foot in the door for convincing an innocent kid (Josh Zuckerman) to test-drive the Faustian bargain: a mere little soul in trade for being the school's coolest dude instead of a geek.
While not a work of art, the actors are all good enough to pull off this lighthearted film, if only barely, & Morgan Fairchild as the calculating slutty demoness seems to be having a grand time. The film's greatest fault is its sheer innocuity. Except for a charmingly staged dance sequence, the tale is devoid of sexiness, & even Lucifer seems to have been castrated. This could almost have been filmed for the Christian Channel.
The tale is simpleminded enough for pre-teens, & has close to enough adult-power to not bore the babysitter or parents too awfully much. If Robert Townsend had directed it rather than just acted in it, it might have been salvaged as a really good little comedy, but even as it stands, there's a place for innocuity.
A better & much more original though still silly comedy of devilish content is Little Nicky starring Adam Sandler as the son of Satan (Harvey Keitel) born after an affair with a beautiful angel (Reese Witherspoon). Nicky is a good kid. Even though "good" is a little bit out of place in Hell, he's daddy's favorite.
Nicky's bullying older brothers (Tiny Lister & Rhys Ifans) are devils supreme. They have split from Hell & are up to no good in Manhattan, with plans to conquer the world. The only son Satan can count on to force them to return to hell is the baby of the family, so Nicky's sent to fetch his bigger stronger & vastly badder brothers.
Now if Adam Sandler sometimes annoys you, he'll really be annoying in this one; & if you don't think a snotty talking dog is a laugh-riot, it's not going to get better as it goes along. If someone absolutely hated this film I could understand that. But it charmed the hell out of me, & scored plenty of giggles. To me it was Adam's funniest film up to then. If someone tried to catalog the goofy gags, it'd take an encyclopedia, & most of 'em are funny. The idea that the devil might have such a sweet son who'd never hurt a soul struck me as funny in concept, & very funny in execution.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl