Dear God (1996) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

Greg Kinnear is so good in the sappy comedy Dear God that he single-handedly carries the film. He’s the best thing in this otherwise dreary movie directed by Gary Marshall. Too bad the rest of the cast and the script isn’t nearly as appealing. The movie grows tired long before it reaches the final frame and the story becomes increasingly unrealistic with each passing scene. A shabby sub-plot involving a loan shark and a love story with a single mother are both non-starters.

Tom Turner (Kinnear) is an LA based con artist who goes from no-good to doing good deeds. Tom’s transformation begins when a judge gives him a choice work or prison. Tom chooses work, of course, and is assigned to the city’s post office. There he is tasked with working within the Dead Letter Office. It’s here, he begins a new nicer con game. Tom starts responding to letters addressed to God with a few “miracles”. An unexpected miracle takes place when the city’s residents start sheering on Tom and his co-workers for their spirit-lifting work around town. All of this results in a court battle in which Tom and the “God Squad” are faced with prison time for mail tampering.

Dear God is innocuous enough as to not be offensive, but that makes it dull and unsurprising. Kinnear’s energy and commitment are commendable and show that he is a real actor, he would be OSCAR nominated for his next role in As Good As It Gets, but the movie slumps around him. Dear God, a phrase that ran through my head while watching the film, is a forgettable little fairy tale that represents 1990’s studio schmaltz at it’s glossiest.

Director: Gary Marshall
Stars: Greg Kinnear, Laurie Metcalf, Tim Conway

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