Holy Man could have been a stellar satire in the tradition of Frank Capra, George Stevens, or Preston Sturges. Instead, this well-meaning romantic comedy was bluntly written by Tom Schulman (Dead Poets Society) and broadly directed by Stephen Herek, who fared better with his 1995 drama Mr. Holland's Opus. Their good intentions shine through, however, and while it's easy to appreciate Eddie Murphy's attempt to shift his career in a more substantial direction, Holy Man delivers some pointed criticism of commercialism and its deadening effect on spiritual well-being. Murphy plays an enlightened eccentric named "G" (for "guru" or "God"?) who rises to national celebrity when he's enlisted to host a TV shopping network. Jeff Goldblum and Kelly Preston play the show's producer and marketer, respectively, and their formulaic romance provides the movie's lackluster subplot. With skyrocketing ratings and a flurry of cameos by celebrity hucksters (Morgan Fairchild, Florence Henderson, Dan Marino, and even James Brown), G delivers preachy platitudes urging America to stop buying and embrace the finer values of life and love (a hollow message coming from Disney, the most conspicuously commercial of all major Hollywood studios). To its credit, Holy Man occasionally achieves a delicate balance of comedy and commentary, and receptive viewers will be grateful, at a time when crude comedies rule the box office, that someone bothered to try. For that reason, this flawed movie deserves to be seen. --Jeff Shannon
Seventy-five years. That's how much time you get if you're lucky. Seventy-five years. Seventy-five Winters. Seventy-five Springtimes. Seventy-five Summers. And Seventy-five Autumns. When you look at it like that, it's not a lot of time, is it? Don't waste them. Get your head out of the rat race and forget about the superficial things that pre-occupy your existence and get back to what's important now. Right Now. This very second. And I'm not saying, drop everything and let the world come to a grinding halt. I'm saying that you could become a seeker. You could be loving more. You could be taking some chances. You could be living more. You could be spending more time with your family. You could be getting in touch with the part of you that lives instead of fears; the part of you that loves instead of hates; the part of you that recognizes the humanity in all of us. And I tell you, That's where you're fortunate.