I’ve never really gotten the appeal of Warren Beatty, probably because my mental image of him basically looks like this:
but in Heaven Can Wait, he looks like this:
so it became a little more understandable. The basic premise of the movie is both ridiculous and wonderful: a quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams (which were apparently a thing in my lifetime, but I didn’t know that) gets in a car crash and his ‘escort’ into the afterlife (a sort of functionary guardian angel) takes his soul too early so then he gets to come back to earth in the body of an eccentric rich man who was almost murdered by his wife (the wonderfully flighty Dyan Cannon) and his dimwitted personal secretary.
I generally don’t like mistaken identity movies, they make me nervous, but there’s no one to get hurt by the deception here, because the only other people who interact with Farnsworth (that’s the rich man’s name – of course) are the servants who are used to dealing with him being crazy. In fact the general message of this whole film seems to be that rich people are crazy and they need to be possessed by a good-natured oaf to act like normal people. Also Julie Christie coming in a power suit will help things along.
OK, that’s a bit dismissive, and I did actually like this movie. I even laughed out loud a couple of times (which makes sense given that the legendary Elaine May co-wrote the screenplay), but there really wasn’t much more to it than a fun romp through the fantasy land of the mega rich. I mean, even his original body was an NFL player, this isn’t exactly rags-to-riches. It’s kind of crazy to me that Beatty went from this to Reds within just a couple of years. Reds, is currently on my Classics from the Queue list, but I’m going to push it up to make it the next link of this chain (because it’s frankly embarrassing that I haven’t seen it at this point – given that my parents have had this poster on a wall in every house we’ve lived in in my lifetime.)
In this chain: