Chick Flick Alert – Chick Flick Alert. Okay with that out of the way let me tell you about Alan Rudolph’s (who recently directed The Secret Lives of Dentists) fledgling attempt at romance in the flick, Made in Heaven. I wish I could tell you the movie was heavenly or angelic, but that would be a really bad cliché as well as not true.The first act of the movie is in black and white and we see Mike (Timothy Hutton) in the movie theater watching Hitchcock’s Notorious (bonus points for the Alfred nod) with his girlfriend. Mike is a guy who is down on his luck; he loses his job, his girl and dies all in a week.
The second act of the movie you see Mike in heaven and suddenly everything is in color – Ta Da. Heaven is illuminated with dreamlike color swirls and is a place where anything is possible. You simply think of where you want to go or whom you want to visit and poof you are there. Here Mike meets Annie (Kelly McGillis) a guide for new arrivals like himself. A romance ensues and you learn that Annie was made in heaven (gee that’s where the title came from – Duh!) and has never been to earth. Mike also learns that everyone goes back to earth, but you never know when. Everything is peachy keen for a while; Mike and Annie get married and then the anvil drops. Annie is finally getting to go to earth, something that Mike doesn’t take too kindly to. After Annie’s exit, Mike searches out Emmett, the “guy who runs things up there” and has the power to let him go after Annie. Warily Emmett agrees to let Mike follow Annie back to earth and gives him 30 years in which to find Annie or else they will both fall in love with other people but never ever be really happy. The kicker is if Mike fails there is no guarantee he will ever come back to heaven. Talk about kicking a guy while he is down.
The third act as you can probably guess is when Mike and Annie return to earth as Elmo and Ally and the tango begins. It is a precarious dance of almost meetings and will they or won’t they find each other and be happily ever after. On earth they each encounter people that they knew in heaven and each of them has brought one talent with them. Ally has her love and knowledge of toys. Elmo realizes he has a knack for music and follows his dream of making a record.
The visuals and music of the movie are especially haunting as well as the recurring themes of life and death. At one point Elmo meets Mike’s parents and learns his mother is dying and Ally writes a book about her imaginary friend Mike who helped her through her mother’s death. Throughout the third act Elmo and Ally remember their time together in heaven as Mike and Annie, thus keeping the dreamlike quality flowing through the whole film. Another good thing are the cameos in this film Ric Ocasek as a car mechanic, Tom Petty as bar patron/gambler, Neil Young, Gary Larson (the Far Side), Ellen Barkin and Debra Winger.The portrayal of heaven seems like a great place to go, it’s just a shame the movie wasn’t on the same level. I remember watching this when I was younger and thinking it was great, what the hell was I thinking. It’s an okay flick, the black and white and then color gimmick was okay, but only reminded me of The Wizard of Oz. In the end this flick has one tarnished halo, my advice go visit the wizard instead.