Holy Man

*

Billed as an Eddie Murphy comedy, viewers should beware of Holy Man. Though it does feature Eddie Murphy, there's precious little comedy here in this tired romantic comedy set amid a television-age satire.

GBSN (The Good Buy Shopping Network) is in trouble. It's routine infomercials and pathetic products just aren't selling anything. This causes headaches for Ricky (Jeff Goldblum), the program director at GBSN, who is given an ultamatum by his boss (Robert Loggia): improve GBSN or be fired.

Kate (Kelly Preston), an analyst for the station, has a few ideas of how a distinctive image could help the network. But Ricky is more interested in getting a date with her than with following her advice.

Enter G (Eddie Murphy), a bald, pajama-wearing, ground kissing, new-age mystic. He literally wanders into Ricky's life, initially an extreme annoyance. But Ricky is hit with a brainstorm: why not put G on the network. Viewers will be able to enrich their lives while emptying their pockets.

Unfortunately, the whole concept is about as interesting as watching an infomercial. The film tries to pack in a few product gimmicks, but most of the humor is either mundane or missing.

Eddie Murphy is rarely given a chance to cut loose here. Instead, he spends most of the film reciting New Agey platitudes. There are a couple of fun moments (if you've seen the trailer...you've seen all of them) where he starts to steal the show. But, most of the time he is curiously restrained.

That leaves us with the romance between Goldblum and Preston, a pair who have zero chemistry together. Goldblum isn't remotely likeable as the lead, and Preston, though more sympathetic, has no defined character at all.

There are moments of Holy Man where the filmmakers seem to be striving toward some sort of social message about the power of television. However, Holy Man is no Network...it's barely to the standards of Eddie Murphy's career-derailing flop The Golden Child.

[PG - some language] (Buena Vista)


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