Holy Man

Much like the goods pushed on Holy Man’s Good Buy Shopping Network, what you see is not what you get with Holy Man. On TV, Holy Man is sold as a hilarious film starring Eddie Murphy, but onscreen it is a romantic comedy with Murphy as one of the supporting players. If you can get over the fact that what you get is not what you were sold, Holy Man is quite an enjoyable film.

Ricky Hayman (Jeff Goldblum) is the program director at the low-rated Good Buy Shopping Network. The ratings and sales are so low that his boss, McBainbridge (Robert Loggia), gives him two weeks to increase the sales. If sales don’t go up, then Hayman is out. The ultimatum is not the only thing that McBainbridge gives Hayman; he also gives Hayman a marketing manager Kate Newell (Kelly Preston).

Off the bat Hayman is in love with Kate. But, Kate finds nothing to like about Hayman. Hayman is a self-centered and self-serving person. Can you see what kind of person Hayman is going to be by the end of the film? On their way to a meeting, Hayman’s car blows a tire and they are stuck. Here is where they meet G (Eddie Murphy). G is a man on a pilgrimage that takes any given moment to say something spiritual. G is a smiling loveable guy, and Kate picks up on this immediately. Hayman, though, is not as accepting.

In a freak accident, Hayman almost runs G over. Hayman, under pressure from Kate, takes G in as a houseguest until G’s all healed up. Hayman finds a good salesperson in G and persuades G to sell for GBSN. G is a hit on GBSN and sales increase sharply. G’s mix of spirituality and good humor bring viewers in, even though G isn’t pushing the product. Can all be so good? Of course not.

Murphy is surprisingly sedate as G. This doesn’t mean that he’s not funny. Murphy steals every scene he’s in. Take, for example, an early scene when G is walking down a highway and a group of teens throws a Slurpee at G. Instead of scolding the teens or getting angry, G thanks them for not throwing a canned soda. Only Murphy could pull off such a line and make it a laugh-out-loud moment. The character G has a lot of pontential that is squandered by writer Tom Schulman.

Goldblum is serviceable as Hayman. Playing against the type of character he played in Jurassic Park and Lost World, Goldblum was able to make me like his character even though he was a slime ball.

Preston plays the “good girl” this time around. In Jerry Maguire, which is the same type of story, she played the “bad girl.” Preston injects much life into the flat and boring character of Kate. She brings freshness to the mediocre and cliched script. Preston and Murphy both hold the film up.

For a horrible performance, look for Robert Loggia. He plays his part as if he were a cigar-chewing sergeant straight out of an old World War II film.

The script by Tom Schulman is a skimpier version of Jerry Maguire. The story is about a guy who loses himself to the pursuit of money and struggles to find his soul again. Preston and Murphy lift the thin script above mediocrity.

I liked Holy Man in many ways. The primary one is that it’s a feel-good film, and I walked out of the theatre with a smile. There are small things about the film that just make you smile, such as anything that Murphy’s G does. Then other things make you laugh out loud take, for instance, G’s disappearing-Rolex trick.

I recommend Holy Man. Catch it in the theatres or on video. You won’t be disappointed as long as you keep in mind that this is not an Eddie Murphy comedy, but a romantic comedy. Maybe the producers of Holy Man will do a sequel with just G, since he is the most likeable character in Holy Man.

“Your good is better and better is blessed.” - G.

Edited by Cher Johnson.