Nora Ephron’s fourth film is the John Travolta headlined, Michael. An innocuous and mediocre Capraesque tale about a Divine creature holed up in a motel somewhere in Iowa. Its appeal lies directly within the charming performance of star Travolta, his charisma shines bright, and the actor appears to relish the chance of playing a heavenly being with a bad attitude. Unfortunately, Ephron has concocted a story that’s so forgettable you may need to rewind it to remember what’s going on.
When jaded journalists Frank (William Hurt) and Huey (Robert Pastorelli), along with “angel expert” Dorothy (Andie MacDowell), travel to a small town in Iowa to investigate a story, they find Michael (John Travolta), a disheveled man claiming to be an angel. But Michael is less than angelic: he drinks smokes and basks in the attention of women. As the group travels to Chicago, Michael teaches them about relationships, faith, and miracles, suggesting that he may be exactly who he says he is.
Travolta comes across as a sweet man and that intangible quality greatly aides his performance and the film on the whole. However, the script doesn’t have much use for the character and when Travolta is off-screen the movie suffers. Michael is a slight film that became a box-office hit due to its holiday release date and the mega-watt charisma and star power of its leading man. Too bad the movie isn’t nearly as compelling or satisfying as the marketing materials that preceded its theatrical release.
Director: Nora Ephron
Stars: John Travolta, Andie MacDowell, William Hurt