Michael (1996) starring John Travolta, Andie MacDowell, William Hurt, Robert Pastorelli, Jean Stapleton, Bob Hoskins, Teri Garr, Joey Lauren Adams directed by Nora Ephron Movie Review

Michael (1996)   3/53/53/53/53/5

John Travolta as Michael

Travolta's Angel takes the Michael

There is a simple fact that all movie lovers learn and that is a movie doesn't have to be good to be entertaining, to bring a smile to your face and end up memorable. It is because of this that whilst not a good movie "Michael" still manages to bring a smile to your face with a tale of a very unorthodox and uncouth angel who womanizes his way through a road trip. But as with many a movie which features angels "Michael" is a story of redemption although it is one of the weakest redemption storylines you will come across and is part of the reason why "Michael" struggles to be average.

Reporters, Frank Quinlan (William Hurt - The Big Chill) and Huey Driscoll (Robert Pastorelli - Eraser), are not the most popular people at the trashy tabloid they work for and if it wasn't for the fact that Huey owns Sparky the dog, the tabloids mascot editor Vartan Malt (Bob Hoskins) would have got rid of them ages ago. When Frank gets wind that there is supposed to be an Angel living in a motel in Iowa it is their chance of redemption and with 'angel expert' Dorothy Winters (Andie MacDowell - Multiplicity) they head out to see if Michael (John Travolta - Phenomenon) the angel is real or another whack job. What they find is certainly not what they expect as Michael is a beer drinking, smoking, slobbish angel with big wings and a love of women. Having agreed to returns with them to Chicago the journey back with its countless stops will change all of their lives for ever.

Andie MacDowell as Dorothy Winters in Michael

So as already mentioned when you get a movie with an angel you expect a tale about redemption and "Michael" is no different. We have these 3 news paper hacks who work for a trashy tabloid paper, the sort where you wouldn't be shocked if the editor agreed to phone hacking, and all they are interested in is getting a story about Michael this man with wings who says he is an angel. And so as the story progresses with these 3 hacks driving Michael from Iowa to Chicago they start to change, the barriers they put up come down and yes their is even a touch of romance whilst they also realise that churning out trashy articles is not really such a great thing. But the trouble is that it never really feels like it is Michael's mission to make their lives better and this redemption element almost takes a backseat to everything else.

That everything else is basically the amusement of Michael, from the first time they meet him, fag in mouth, beer belly over hanging his boxers and scratching his nuts through to the way he almost hypnotizes any woman he meets. And whilst highly repetitive it is fun and it is this which brings that smile to your face. It's impossible not to laugh the first time we see Michael in his roughest state and the way he manipulates the 3 hacks to do what he wants from visiting the world's largest ball of string through to seeing the largest Teflon coated frying pan is simply fun. It's almost as fun as the way women flock to him when he enters a room and whilst there is a seriously cheesy dance scene, well a couple actually, it still brings a smile to your face.

As such whilst "Michael" features the likes of William Hurt, Andie McDowell, Bob Hoskins and Robert Pastorelli it is really John Travolta who makes it work. Whilst he makes Michael uncouth and surprisingly rough he also makes him seriously cool with an air of "I'm doing what I want" about him. Like in the way Michael attracts women it is this air of almost confidence combined with his roughness which makes us like him. And whilst it does get very daft with such nonsense as Michael battling a Bull head on Travolta strangely makes it work.

The thing is with "Michael" is that whilst there is the tale of redemption it does take a back seat and so all the humour of Michael being a womanizing, beer loving, cigarette smoking angel comes in what is pretty much a series of set pieces. Some of these set pieces feel like they are part of the storyline, helping build up the characters and setting up the redemption storyline. But then there are plenty which don't feel like they fit in from Michael battling a Bull through to Andie McDowell's Dorothy taking to the stage and singing at a bar, although it has to be said that McDowell can certainly deliver a song. It ends up making "Michael" a very disjointed movie that whilst these things happen on the trip from Iowa to Chicago they have no real point other than to make us smile.

What this all boils down to is that on one hand "Michael" is not a good movie, it is disjointed and feels more like a collection of set pieces that a tale of redemption. But then despite this it is entertaining and watching John Travolta as a dirty, womanizing Angel is good fun despite several very cheesy scenes. It's a case of "Michael" is seriously daft, almost pointless but it will make you smile even when the storyline becomes almost non existent.