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"MICHAEL"
(1996) (John Travolta, Andie McDowell) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild None Mild None None
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 Moderate Minor Minor Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: A team of tabloid reporters meets an angel and takes him back to Chicago for an exclusive story.
PLOT:
National Mirror tabloid reporters Frank Quinlan (WILLIAM HURT) and Huey Driscoll (ROBERT PASTORELLI) specialize in reporting on the exaggerated aspects of life, or creating them as needed. When they get a letter from Pansy Milbank (JEAN STAPLETON) stating that she has a true, winged angel living with her, they know they can't pass this one by. Their boss, Vartan Malt (BOB HOSKINS), threatens to fire them if they don't bring back a great story. They take along newcomer Dorothy Winters (ANDIE MACDOWELL), who's been hired to train Sparky, the company dog, and all of them head for the heartland of Iowa. There they meet Michael (JOHN TRAVOLTA) the angel, but his unshaven slob-like appearance and chain smoking/beer drinking behavior is far from what they imagined. As they take him back to Chicago for their exclusive story, they learn that he wants to see the sights of the land as this is his last heaven-sent trip to Earth.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Younger kids won't, but teens might be drawn by Travolta or MacDowell.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For a mild barroom brawl, some language and sensuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JOHN TRAVOLTA plays a fun-loving, but amorous angel who beds at least one woman and who smokes, drinks and eats sugar like it's going out of style.
  • WILLIAM HURT and ROBERT PASTORELLI play men interested only in exploiting others for their paper, and other than that we don't know much about them.
  • ANDIE MACDOWELL plays a woman divorced three times who doesn't fit in with the exploitive nature of the organization she works for.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 2 out of 10
    This is a tremendous waste of a very talented cast. Director Nora Ephron ("Sleepless in Seattle," and writer of "When Harry Met Sally") has created a mess of a movie that embodies poor film making, confused and uninspired acting, poor continuity and a general insult to the average audience member's intelligence. It's amazing that this film was also written by Ephron as it pales to her other works' witty dialogue uttered by much more imaginatively created characters. This film just doesn't click and everything seems forced and pasted together. For example, the inclusion of a variety of songs worked pretty well in "Sleepless," but here it pounds the viewer over the head with its message and at other times seems there just to sell the soundtrack. Other sloppy elements abound, such as when Dorothy gets up to sing her country western song (that only she knows) and the band (without Michael's intervention) manages to play it perfectly. Travolta has another dance number (a new part of his contract?) that's supposed to get everybody all excited (as in "Pulp Fiction") but it's as similarly uninspired as the rest of this film. We hope this isn't the second coming of the end of Travolta's career, but this one reeks of the sloppy films he made after his first time around at success. The other fault of this movie is that it tries too darn hard to be cute (the cute little dog, they go to see "The world's largest non-stick frying pan," the cast sings a Beatles song together, etc...) and it just doesn't work. This film just feels like all of those concerned got together, had some fun, and then hoped that a movie would magically be created. Or even worse, with all of the big names involved, no one was brave enough to tell them that this is really bad. As it is, this movie feels sloppy and slapped together. For a far better "angel" movie this holiday season, we suggest you see "The Preacher's Wife." We give this one just a 2 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Only a few things stand out as sources of parental concern. There's 1 "s" word and 3 slang references to male genitals. There's some implied sexual activity, but nothing's seen on screen. A barroom brawl is the worst of the violence. It should be noted that Travolta's character drinks, smokes and eats way too much sugar and thus might not be seen as the greatest role model for kids. We suggest, as always, that you read through the category listings to determine if this movie is appropriate for you and/or your family.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Michael drinks beer several times throughout the movie.
  • People in a bar drink beer.
  • Frank confesses to Dorothy that he was fired from his last job for punching his boss while drunk.
  • Huey drinks a beer toward the end of the movie.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Frank and Huey start singing the word "Jesus" over and over again as if in a revival, but they are mocking Michael.
  • Early on, both Frank and Huey want to exploit Michael for their own gains.
  • Frank mocks Dorothy for her failures with her past husbands and says that she likes dogs better than men because they're easier to get along with.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Shut up," "Screwed," "I hate you," and "Bastard."
  • Michael scratches his groin in front of others.
  • Michael pours tons of sugar onto his Frosted Flakes and then dips his spoon directly into the sugar bowl. He's also a sloppy eater and allows the cereal and milk to spill from his mouth down onto the table.
  • Michael stares down a bull, races at it and then head butts it, knocking both of them silly.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 1 "s" word, 3 slang terms for male genitals ("pecker"), and 2 uses each of "Oh Lord" and "God" and 1 use each of "For God's sake" and "God forsaken" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Huey says that Michael's wings make it seem "Like a great big bird made love to his mother."
  • After Huey wants to pull on Michael's wings to see how they're attached, Michael responds, "Why don't you pull on your pecker and see how it's attached."
  • The women are attracted to Michael and Dorothy asks, "Have you ever heard of an angel interested in sex?" She also mentions that the mysterious smell that only women notice around him (of cotton candy or baked cookies) "gets stronger when he's in heat."
  • Michael visits with a judge behind closed doors and the charges against them (for fighting in a bar) are quickly dropped. It could be implied that they slept together.
  • Michael takes a waitress back to his room and the next morning she's seen leaving, implying that she spent the night with him.
  • Frank and Dorothy passionately kiss outside her room and the next morning are seen together in her room. It's implied that they slept together.
  • SMOKING
  • Michael smokes throughout most of the movie.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • It's mentioned that Dorothy has been divorced three times.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Whether angels really exist.
  • Tabloid papers and the stories they cover.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A small bank building collapses upon itself and we later learn that Michael caused it to happen.
  • It's mentioned that Malt's original dog was run over and "ended up under a tractor tire."
  • Michael stares down a bull, races at it and then head butts it, knocking both of them silly.
  • Some local guys in a bar get jealous that "their ladies" are dancing with Michael. One of them bashes a bar stool against Michael's back and he in turn grabs the guy and tosses him across the bar into the wall. Others then rush up and Huey is hit in the face. Frank then steps in and he and Michael punch and toss aside the assorted locals who rush them. (It's all done in a "fun" barroom brawl type setting) One guy hits Michael several times in the face and the stomach and Michael then flips him over onto the floor. He and another guy then fight with cue sticks.
  • Frank confesses to Dorothy that he was fired from his last job for punching his boss while drunk.
  • Sparky is hit by a truck.



  • Reviewed December 17, 1996

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