Holy Man (1998) / Comedy-Drama
MPAA Rated: PG for some language
Running Time: 114 min.
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Jeff Goldblum, Kelly Preston, Robert Loggia, Jon Cryer
Director: Stephen Herek
Screenplay: Tom Schulman
Review published October 11, 1998
The Good Buy Shopping Network's rating are in the dumps until their producer (Goldblum, The Lost World: Jurassic Park) and his assistant (Preston, Jerry Maguire) stumble across a street guru named G. (Murphy, The Nutty Professor) who ends up on the set of the GBSH and jumpstarts the ratings with his mix of religion, philosophy and good salesmanship. He soon becomes a national phenomenon himself, causing the owner of the company (Loggia, Independence Day) to want to make G. a prime time star. Conflicts arise when the producer is offered the job of his dreams if he can get G. signed to a contract, but he knows G. would be unhappy if he could not continue his journey. Now he is conflicted with using a good man and friend to get ahead or to let him go and be an out of work failure himself.
As with most recent Eddie Murphy vehicles, the talented former superstar carries the film all by himself. Talk about a mixed bag! The film ranges all over the map from inspiringly thought-provoking to trite formula mediocrity. Credit should also go to director Stephen Herek (Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure) with doing good work with essentially a poorly plotted but cleverly written script. The romance between Goldblum and Preston is tired and tepid, but Murphy electrifies whenever he appears onscreen. Definitely worth watching due to some genuinely compelling moments. It's a crime to waste such goodness on formula Hollywood comedy-by-numbers.
©1998 Vince Leo