A script by Dead Poet's Society writer Tom Schulman. 101 Dalmatians director Stephen Herek. Add Eddie Murphy, Jeff Goldblum and Kelly Preston to the Holy Man pot, and Buena Vista should have had a half-decent pre-mixed comedy on its hands.
But Murphy has a talent for attaching himself to unworkable projects, and this lightweight family flick can't decide if it's a cultural sideswipe or a romance. Holy Man mixes together two American TV staples - - tele-evangelism and home shopping - - neither of which have the same profile in the UK. It's also a two-story movie: half tepid romance between Goldblum's obsessive station suit and Kelly Preston's media analyst, half feelgood tale preaching the joys of spiritual salvation over materialism.
Veering between the two, the majority is tediously predictable and clichéd: Preston initially dismisses Goldblum's advances; Murphy's monkish G is a huge hit; and the audience is bedazzled by mail-order tat and subtly-packaged preaching. As you always knew they would.
There are some amusing moments (James Brown selling an alarm clock), but neither the romance nor the unsurprising antics of Murphy's mystical misfit are engaging enough to hold your interest for long. Murphy is arguably at his best when he's called upon to deliver ad-libbed comedy as he did in The Nutty Professor. But here he's a cut-down version of himself, locked into the same sort of goody-two-shoes trance he displayed in The Golden Child - and can we remember how good that was?
Goldblum mumbles: "Thanks for the cash", as Eddie Murphy withers during this lightweight non-com. Sporadically amusing, never truly funny, Holy Man isn't the rampantly humorous gagathon youmight expect. Inoffensive family viewing only.
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