What Dreams May Come

on October 02, 1998 by Christine James
   A perfect husband, loving father and all-around-saintly-guy (Robin Williams) is killed by a car gone out of control. He's led to heaven by a patronizing-advice-spouting guide (Cuba Gooding Jr.), but is compelled to leave paradise to save his suicidal soulmate (Annabella Sciorra). Williams plays the heartstrings like a maestro, as he did so well in such films as "Good Will Hunting" and "The Fisher King." But the story feels too contrived and insufficiently developed to elicit any true sense of empathy or jeopardy. Scripter Ron Bass ("How Stella Got Her Groove Back," "My Best Friend's Wedding," "Waiting to Exhale") once again falls short of fully realizing the promise of his potentially magical material: The protagonists' death-defying romance isn't adequately illustrated, and the fantastical elements of the story are carelessly skimmed over. The end result is little more than an art director's showpiece. The fatal flaw of this tale of the afterlife is its lack of soul.    Starring Robin Williams, Annabella Sciorra and Cuba Gooding Jr. Directed by Vincent Ward. Written by Ron Bass. Produced by Stephen Simon and Bernet Bain. A Polygram release. Fantasy/drama. Rated PG-13 for thematic elements involving death, some disturbing images and language. Running time: 112 min.
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