Director: Carl Reiner
Starring: John Denver, George Burns, Teri Garr, Donald Pleasence, Ralph Bellamy, William Daniels, Paul Sorvino
More info: IMDb
Tagline: Anybody who could turn Lot's wife into a pillar of salt, incinerate Sodom and Gomorrah and make it rain for forty days and forty nights has got to be a fun guy.
Plot: When God appears to an assistant grocery manager as a good natured old man, the Almighty selects him as his messenger for the modern world.
My rating: 8/10
Will I watch it again? Yeah.
Back in the late 70s/early 80s I saw this many times on TV. I've always been a huge fan of Burns so this was a no-brainer on my list of things to watch. As I grew into adulthood I realized that I didn't believe in a god. As a child I questioned the existence of one from time to time when I was forced to go to church. So, how does it hold up after having not seen it in nearly 30 years? Very nicely, actually. I was curious as to how I would feel about the film seeing it for the first time as an adult and atheist. I loved it. I was reciting lines just before they happened, whistling Jack Elliott's theme like I learned it yesterday and overall just having a ball.
Now, looking past the obvious comedy that it is, there are a few moments where there are some clever lines that question the existence (some from Burns himself) or the purpose of believing in a god. They're in there if you pay attention. True believers either won't notice them or will fly right by them.
Denver was well cast as the very likable Jerry and Burns as god is ideal. His delivery works beautifully for this character. Then there's Teri Garr, one of the scrummiest ladies who ever lived. She's #2 on my list of women who need to have my babies, right behind Madeline Kahn. Uh! Double up! Uh! Uh!
Outside of the main three, Paul Sorvino takes the cake and runs with it. His portrayal of the over the top televangelist, Reverend Willie Williams, is fucking priceless. My face hurt so bad and I cried with laughter whenever he was on screen, particularly during his introduction.
I'm howling just getting the screenshots. Damn that man was funny! So, as an atheist, do I think Jerry really saw god? Yes, I do. After all, it's only a movie.