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"DEAR GOD"
(1996) (Greg Kinnear, Laurie Metcalf) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor None Heavy None Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None None None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild Mild None Mild Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: A postal worker responds to unanswered "Dear God" letters found at the post office.
PLOT:
Tom Turner (GREG KINNEAR) is a con artist trying to collect $1,000 to pay off a loan shark who's after him for bad gambling debts. Caught in the act by the police, Tom is given the option of going to jail or finding an honest job and keeping it for a year. He choses the latter and a relative gets him a job in the "dead letters" section of the Post Office where unanswered letters to Santa, the Easter Bunny, and God are stored. After Tom inadvertently helps out the author of a "Dear God" letter, his coworkers begin to pitch in and soon he becomes the unofficial leader of secretly answering these desperate people's written prayers. When the group gets into trouble for opening the mail, Tom takes the fall, and it's up to the other postal workers, including Herman Dooly (TIM CONWAY), a flipped out former mail carrier, and Rebecca Frazen (LAURIE METCALF), a former lawyer, to get Tom off the hook.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
It's doubtful. None of the cast members nor the story line will draw kids to this film.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For language and mild thematic elements.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • GREG KINNEAR, up until the end, is a bad role model as he's a self-centered gambling addict and con artist, who's only goal is to fool people into giving him money.
  • LAURIE METCALF (from TV's "Roseanne") plays a whacked out former lawyer, turned postal worker who helps Tom in his court case.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 1 out of 10
    This has to be one of the worst films of the year, and that's a surprise as it was made by Gary Marshall who helmed "Pretty Woman" and many of the popular 1970's sitcoms such as "Happy Days." While many of those sitcoms certainly were not high art, they were miles ahead of this poorly constructed, badly acted and horribly directed mess. It's also surprising that Kinnear took the lead role in this, after his fine performance in the remake of "Sabrina" (with Harrison Ford). The rest of the cast overacts and tries to create zany characters, but this film doesn't support their goofiness and thus they end up looking just like idiots. If Marshall had instead opted to make this movie as a spoof (like the "Airplane" or "Naked Gun" movies), it might have turned out better and the horrible acting, continuity, etc... would have been appreciated as being part of the joke. But as it is, this is one horrible mess that even includes pitiful cameos by people like Jack Klugman from TV's "Quincy" and "The Odd Couple," who most have owed a debt to Marshall to appear in this stinker. We barely give it a 1 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    There isn't much to object to in this movie (other than it being a horrible movie in nearly every sense of the word). Other than one "s" word, profanity isn't any worse than what's on regular TV. Sexual material is limited to innuendo and references that will go over most kid's heads. The biggest issue of concern is Tom's attitude. He's a con artist from the beginning and hopes to use his new found fame as the answer man to the "Dear God" letters to score more money. While he obviously comes around and turns into the good guy, for the majority of the film he's a self-centered loser. If you think your kids will want to see this one, make sure you read through all category listings to determine if this movie is appropriate for them.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Tom and a date have wine with lunch.
  • The loan shark gets two beers out of Tom's fridge, both for himself.
  • BLOOD/ GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Tom takes a handicapped pass from another car and puts it on his so that he can park in a handicapped spot.
  • Tom poses as a burn victim (with bandaged hands) at an ATM machine to try to lure unsuspecting people to fall into his trap and give him money (saying that his ATM card doesn't work, etc...).
  • Tom scams people at a Christmas parade for money.
  • A foreign worker (who doesn't understand English that well) throws packages marked "fragile" against a wall because that's what other workers told him "fragile" meant ("throw against the wall").
  • Tom pockets unclaimed jewelry from his office and when caught, acts like he's collecting it to mail to one of the "Dear God" letter writers.
  • After Rebecca has read Tom a letter from a dying girl, he says "Life sucks and it's not going to get any better" and crumples up the letter and throws it in the trash can.
  • Tom teaches his date's son how to hustle people playing miniature golf.
  • It turns out Tom's plan is to get the "Dear God" racket running in hopes that people will begin to send money to them to help out the poor and the destitute, and then he'll pocket the cash.
  • The film makes fun of deaf people in one scene when Dooly says, "Oh good, the deaf girl wants it quiet."
  • The rest of the postal workers (other than Tom) are willing to let one of their coworkers take the whole rap for opening the "Dear God" letters while they were more guilty than him. Later they change their minds.
  • FRIGHTENING/TENSE SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Pistol: One of the postal workers has a gun that's really just a TV remote control. Later Tom is seen with it at home and he answers the door with it.
  • Handguns: The postal police show up with their guns drawn (a bit melodramatic) to arrest one of the postal workers.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Tom takes a handicapped pass from another car and puts it on his so that he can park in a handicapped spot.
  • After Tom has tried to talk his way out of a criminal charge, the judge asks him, "Do you get your pants custom made with a set of balls that big? (They're) huge and shiny I wager."
  • It's stated that Herman Dooly once bit a dog "on the knee."
  • Phrases: "Screw up," "Screw over," "Ball buster," "Sucks," "No nuts" (testicles), "Piss" and "Rat fink."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 1 "s" word, 1 use of "B.S.," 7 hells, 4 damns, 1 ass, 1 crap, and 2 uses of "Oh God," and 1 use of "God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A man tells Tom that his daughter is still a virgin.
  • When a worker asks "What's a petting zoo?" her male coworker says, "My apartment every night."
  • While on a date, Tom tells the woman, "I guess we're at the awkward groping point."
  • The loan shark sees Tom's place (fixed up after it was ransacked) and asks, "What are doing? Boffing (having sex with) the cleaning lady?"
  • Rebecca, now acting as Tom's attorney, states that she used to live with the prosecutor.
  • SMOKING
  • A large group of people is seen smashed into a very small "Smoking Section," and they're all smoking.
  • Tom's mother smokes a cigarette.
  • The loan shark smokes a cigarette.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Whether the workers should have opened the "Dear God" letters. The point (it's illegal for postal workers to open any mail) is brought up in the story and leads to a court case.
  • The group gets a letter from someone who says he's going to kill himself. They search, find, and stop the man from doing so (he was going to drown himself in the ocean).
  • VIOLENCE
  • A cop tells Tom that if the judge lets him off (drops the charges against him), "I'll splatter your nose."
  • It's stated that Herman Dooly once bit a dog "on the knee."
  • A foreign worker (who doesn't understand English that well) throws packages marked "fragile" against a wall because that's what other workers told him "fragile" meant ("throw against the wall").
  • A race track bookie punches Tom in the stomach several times.
  • An outside lamp at a miniature golf course is accidentally broken when struck by a badly hit golf ball.
  • The group gets a letter from someone who says he's going to kill himself. They search, find, and stop the man from doing so (he was going to drown himself in the ocean).
  • Tom comes home to find that his place has been ransacked by the loan shark.
  • It's mentioned that a bookie was hit by a bus and killed.
  • One of the postal workers (played by Tim Conway) acts as if he's going to fight the prosecutor (fists comically raised), but nothing happens.
  • The judge throws her gavel at the prosecutor to get his attention.



  • Reviewed October 26, 1996

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