Holy Man

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Holy Man

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Jeff Goldblum stars in Holy Man as what has become a '90s archetype: the materialistic, money-grubbing, cellular-phone-using yuppie who's desperately in need of spiritual renewal. The spiritually empty materialist as a stock film character certainly pre-dates widespread use of the cellular phone, but in the '90s, you can bet your life savings that if a character is seen using a cellular phone in the first 15 minutes of a film, he will spend the rest of it having his cold heart warmed by a 20-year-old Jamaican man, a lovable single mother, or, in Holy Man's case, a lovable messianic figure. Eddie Murphy plays the aforementioned messianic figure, a wandering guru whose mixture of Deepak Chopra-like New Age platitudes and gotta-love-me star power helps turn a struggling home-shopping network into an unstoppable dynamo. Joining Goldblum and Murphy is Kelly Preston, playing Goldblum's pretty co-worker, a woman who is introduced as a ruthless corporate shark and who then inexplicably spends the rest of the film acting as the voice of conscience for both Goldblum and the network for which they work. Written by Tom Schulman (8 Heads In A Duffel Bag, Second Sight) and directed by Stephen Herek (Critters, Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead), Holy Man begins as a satire of the tacky consumerism of home-shopping networks, but shifts gears about halfway through to become a simplistic morality tale. As satire, it's obvious and tame, and as a cautionary tale, it's glib and hypocritical. After all, is there really a big difference between a vacuous piece of corporate product like Holy Man and the home-shopping network it satirizes? Holy Man is a pleasant piece of commercial filmmaking, but as a satirical comedy, it's devoid of laughs and insight.

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