Heaven Can Wait

Not the sublime Ernst Lubitsch masterpiece, but a 1978 comedy that had the brass to steal its title. Warren Beatty’s first flight out as a director was codirected by Buck Henry, but Beatty’s also around as producer, cowriter (with Elaine May), and star, so you can’t exactly accuse him of lacking confidence. A charming but not very profound comedy about a football player (Beatty) accidentally killed before his appointed time who gets fixed up with a new body formerly owned by an eccentric millionaire, this is actually a remake of Alexander Hall’s Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), with football substituting for prizefighting. It’s certainly likable enough and was a big hit when it came out, but one could hardly call it an auspicious artistic debuta crafty commercial entertainment with a certain amount of intelligence is more like it. With Julie Christie, Jack Warden, James Mason (as the archangel Mr. Jordan), Dyan Cannon, Charles Grodin, Buck Henry, and Vincent Gardenia. 100 min. (JR)

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