on December 25, 1996 by Christine James
  &#160This saccharinely contrived attempt at a heart-warmer is not without its moments, 98 percent of which are John Travolta's. Travolta plays the title character, an archangel whose visit to earth causes quite a stir among everyone he encounters. With his proclivities for smoking, drinking, carousing and gluttonizing, Michael seems more terrestrial than celestial. But the hedonistic yet benevolent demi-deity possesses an irresistible charisma, an aura of joy and the aroma of home-baked cookies--the combination of which leaves everyone helpless to his charms. When a trio of tabloid reporters (William Hurt, Andie MacDowell and Robert Pastorelli) are sent to get a story on Michael, these screwed-up cynics are inevitably all affected by his magical mission.
  &#160It's obvious from the onset that the contentious relationship between Hurt and MacDowell will turn into romance. But, through no fault of these two superior and intriguing actors, the shallowness of the roles renders their interaction predominantly uninteresting. Pastorelli's comic character is underused almost to the point of extraneousness. Travolta saves the film with his exceedingly winsome portrayal of the very atypical angel, but even he can't perform a miracle big enough to recapture filmmaker Nora Ephron's "Sleepless in Seattle" and "When Harry Met Sally" boxoffice magic. Starring John Travolta, William Hurt, Andie MacDowell and Robert Pastorelli. Directed by Nora Ephron. Written by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron. Produced by Nora Ephron, Sean Daniel and Jim Jacks. A New Line release. Romantic comedy. Rated PG for a mild barroom brawl, some language and sensuality. Running time: 105 min.
Tags: Starring John Travolta, William Hurt, Andie MacDowell, Robert Pastorelli, Directed by Nora Ephron, Written by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron, Produced by Nora Ephron, Sean Daniel, Jim Jacks, New Line, Romantic comedy

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