Well, *I* didn't ask for another Oh God movie, but someone must have, because here it is, Oh God, You Devil. What a clever idea, to have George Burns play both God and the Devil in this one. Isn't it amazing what wonderful ideas the folks in Hollywood can come up with when they put their acorn-sized minds to it? Doubtless someone murmured something during lunch at Spago's (goose liver sausage and goat cheese pizza, no doubt) about new improvements in double exposure technology, this was picked up by an eavesdropper, and one of Hollywood's great idea men said, "Why, we haven't done anything like this since Haley Mills! There may be a buck here!"
Given that George Burns is such a great comic performer, maybe there will be a buck here. Burns is the only reason to bother with Oh God! You Devil? (or some other punctuation, perhaps; I'm satisfied with just *spelling* titles correctly, myself). Burns takes lines that are barely even amusing and transforms them into moderately funny lines. But even alchemists are limited. They must have lead before they can turn it into gold - manure won't do. Most of Burns' lines are pretty bad, so the best he can do is make them sound respectable.
If there were more of Burns and less of Ted Wass, the film might still be worthwhile. Wass was really funny in Curse of the Pink Panther, but this role is certain death for almost anyone. It makes you appreciate the low key charms of John Denver to see poor Wass struggling with this part. He plays an unsuccessful song writer who makes a deal with the Devil (George Burns). The deal results in his taking the place of a famous rock star Burns has just foreclosed on, giving Wass lots of the rewards of success, but separating him from his wife. Eventually, inevitably, George Burns as God shows up to have it out with George Burns as the Devil over Wass' soul. Not very long ago Disney got iced at the box office with much the same plot (The Devil and Max Devlin), so no points for originality.
No points for much of anything else, either. Oh, God? You Devil! is very predictable. We all know what will happen, which is the peril of this kind of plot. The screenwriter must try and fit in little surprises to make up for predictability at the higher level, and the screenwriters here fail. Real ho-hum stuff fills out the borders. Paul Bogart is a hack director (Skin Game was his only good film, though some of his TV work is OK), and he puts in another hack job here. No mistakes, no inspiration. Ron Silver is good in a small role as a record producer, but we're not talking picture-saving, film-stealing good here.
The bottom line for Oh, God, You? Devil?? is that your enjoyment of the film will depend entirely on how charming you find George Burns, and how much nonsense you're willing to sit through to get to him. I sort of like George Burns, so I almost enjoyed the film. Oh! God You Devil is a real good film to catch on cable TV when you have nothing better to do.
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